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Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 17:26 UK

Verdasco squeezes past Vliegen

WIMBLEDON
Date: 22 June - 5 July
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Fernando Verdasco
Verdasco had a few hairy moments but edged through on Court Three

Seventh seed Fernando Verdasco survived four gruelling sets to beat Belgium's Kristof Vliegen 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to make the third round.

Vliegen pushed all the way before losing steam in a three-hour epic.

Tommy Robredo, 15th seed, beat Stefan Koubek in five sets, while 11th seed Marin Cilic defeated Sam Querrey.

A collision with a ball girl forced Michael Llodra to quit against Tommy Haas, and an injury to Simone Bolelli enabled Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to progress.

Verdasco, ranked 74 places higher than his Belgian opponent, struggled to dominate throughout his second-round clash and won an error-strewn first set before Vliegen hit back to take the second on a tie-break.

Neither player could be separated again as the third went to 6-6, but Verdasco, on the ropes and trailing 4-1 in the tie-break, recovered brilliantly with an ace to take a crucial set.

After two hours and 55 minutes of intense tennis, the first break of serve went to the Spaniard in the 10th game of the fourth set and he soon wrapped up a hard-earned victory.

606: DEBATE
stenhammer

"I'm not surprised (how tough it was). He's a very good player," said Verdasco. "He's so talented, and when he plays well, he's so tough to beat.

"And also here on grass when you play a player who serves so well with good variation, and who from the baseline can play a very good slice and go forward to the net."

Verdasco, who will next face compatriot and 32nd seed Albert Montanes, reached the fourth round last year, but is aware of the threat from Roger Federer in his half of the draw.

"I believe in my game, but I'm a realist and I know that I have Federer in the quarter-finals," he said.

"He's the big favourite here, and it's going to be so tough to beat him in the quarter-finals to reach the semis, but I need to go match by match and try to keep improving every match, keep playing better every day."

Federer, easy victor over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets, will next face Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 27th seed winning 8-6 in the fifth set against Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic.

Eleventh seed Cilic had to fight for everything against American Querrey, who sent down 24 aces, but the 21-year-old Croat finally secured a third round match against Haas.

Cilic, playing only his third Wimbledon, produced 43 unforced errors but edged through 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 in a match that lasted three hours and 24 minutes.

Sweden's 13th seed Robin Soderling had to come back from a set down and win a tense tie-break to finally see off Spain's Marcel Granollers 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 7-5.

Germany's 18th seed Rainer Schuettler went down in straight sets to Israel's Dudi Sela 6-7 (3-7) 3-6 2-6.

Croatia's Ivo Karlovic, 22nd seed, rarely broke sweat in a straight-set 7-5 6-3 6-4 victory over Belgium's Steve Darcis and will next play Tsonga.

Tommy Haas

Ball girl replaces injured Llodra

The Wimbledon crowd was treated to another magnificent five-setter on Wednesday afternoon, with Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver defeating American Taylor Dent 7-5 7-6 (7-6) 4-6 6-7 (3-7) 6-4.

There was better luck for the United States when Mardy Fish, the 28th seed, saw off Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4.

Tsonga booked his third-round spot without playing a shot. The Italian world number 63 Bolelli retired during his first-round doubles match after feeling a twinge and opted against playing on Wednesday.

The German 24th seed Haas had little work to do, as Frenchman Llodra, conqueror of Britain's Josh Goodall in round one, raced to the net when 4-3 down in the first set and crashed into a ball girl.

Although he apologised and gave the girl a hug, Llodra required extensive medical attention and had to retire.



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Men's singles draw
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Women's singles draw
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