Murray faces Verdasco at Queens

By Niall Clarke

  • Andy Murray faces Fernando Verdasco on Thursday
  • Murray leads the head to head 10-2
  • Murray came from two sets down to defeat Verdasco in five sets at Wimbledon in 2013

Andy Murray will face yet another difficult test when he plays Fernando Verdasco in the second round of Queens on Thursday.

The Brit overcame Yen-Hsun Lu in the opening round on Tuesday in straight sets 6-4, 7-5 in a testing match-up. But the draw does not get any easier for the top seed as he will face big hitting leftie Fernando Verdasco in the second round.

Verdasco had his troubles overcoming fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut on Monday, saving match point to defeat his compatriot in three sets.

Playing on Monday has meant that Verdasco has had a day’s rest before this second round match, whilst Murray played his first round match on Tuesday.

The Brit will be looking for the ideal preparation for Wimbledon which begins in less than two weeks’ time. Murray will no doubt be amongst the favourites for this event and the third grand slam of the year.

However, he must be careful of the threat of his Spanish opponent. Verdasco possesses big weapons with his leftie serve and forehand, which can be huge weapons when firing.

Murray knows the danger of Verdasco all too well. Their last grass court meeting was at Wimbledon 2013, where Murray had to come from two sets down to beat the Spaniard.

This match however will be played over three sets so Murray cannot afford such lapses this time around, or he will be saying an early goodbye to Queen’s Club.

Verdasco, 31, is not the top ten player he was back in 2009 where he reached a career high of seventh in the world, but he is still dangerous at number 42 in the world.

The Spaniard has won six career titles with none of them being on the grass. He did make the final of the Nottingham open in 2008, but fell to big serving Ivo Karlovic.

Verdasco has a Wimbledon Quarter Final to his name, which came two years ago but apart from that he has not had the best of times at SW19, with his previous best being the fourth round.

The 31 year old likes to play offensive tennis from the baseline, hitting with incredible power and top spin from the forehand side. His serve can also be a huge weapon, hitting the upwards of 140MPH.

Despite his weapons, Verdasco can often struggle with nerves and pressure against the very best in the world. That partly explains how he let a two set lead slip against Murray at Wimbledon two years ago.

Make no mistake about it, Verdasco is a big test for Murray who did not look his best against Lu in the first round. But the Spaniard must acknowledge the threat that Murray possesses across the net.

Murray’s return and backhand will be key against the weapons of Verdasco. In particular the backhand down the line to the weaker side of Verdasco will be an area the Brit will look to exploit.

If the Spaniard comes out firing, Murray needs to hang in there and keep the score close as Verdasco is prone to a collapse when in a winning position.

The Brit can take good reading from the head to head as it reads 10-2 in his favour. Their last meeting came last year at Roland Garros where Murray came through in straight sets.

The players will take to court Thursday for their second round match.