Verdasco downs dreadful Djokovic
Saturday, 17th  April, 2010
Fernando Verdasco will play Rafael Nadal in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters after a surprisingly easy 6-2 6-2 win over top seed Novak Djokovic in Monaco.
Djokovic's game collapsed early in the match and he never recovered, allowing Verdasco to comfortably progress with a polished performance that took full advantage of the Serb's wastefulness.

It was the first time the Spaniard had played in a Masters Series semi-final and also snapped a five game winning streak that Djokovic held over him.

The first four games of the match went on serve but then Djokovic produced a double fault on break point in the fifth and he would fail to win another game in the second set.

Verdasco was letting Djokovic do the hard work for him by just keeping the ball in play as a number of wild strokes from Djokovic saw him lose key points.

The world number two also seemed to be breathing heavily and blowing his nose at times during the match which might partially explain the flatness of his performance.

Again he managed to hold serve at the start of the second set but then in the third game of the second set he was broken once more with Verdasco clinching the break by winning the best rally of the match - an exhibition of groundstroke hitting which eventually ended in Djokovic firing limply into the net.

The next game was Verdasco's sole real slip-up of the match. He seemed to tighten up with the smell of victory in his nostrils and Djokovic broke back; but then Djokovic fired another double fault and two horrible unforced errors in the next game to hand the break advantage right back to Verdasco.

From there on in it was plain sailing for Verdasco as he wrapped up the match by dropping just three points in the final three games.

"I made his win much easier because I made so many unforced errors," said Djokovic. "But on the positive side, it's a semi-final.

"After the performances I had in Miami and Indian Wells, this is great. I have to consider this as a success and move on," added the world number two who had won just two matches in total at the last two Masters events.

Verdasco's reward is an all-Spanish final against Nadal where Verdasco will start as the huge underdog; Nadal is gunning for his sixth successive Monte Carlo crown and also holds a 9-0 head-to-head record over Verdasco.

"The best surface to play him (Nadal) would be grass or hardcourt," said Verdasco.

"But it will here on clay and I cannot change that. I will try and handle this as best as I can. I will take my chances although he does not give many chances on this surface."

Monte-Carlo Masters
By Tom Frankl

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