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Federer v Verdasco as it happened

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606: DEBATE

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By David Ornstein

2320: Thanks for your contributions today, it's been nearly as enjoyable as one of Roger Federer's inside-out forehand winners. See you all tomorrow.

2315: The attention shifts to Group B on Monday, with world number two Rafael Nadal taking on French Open runner-up Robin Soderling at 1415 GMT and defending champion Novak Djokovic facing Nikolay Davydenko at 2045 GMT.

2310: About 34,000 spectators crammed into the O2 on day one and the tournament is set to attract around 290,000 by the time it finishes on Sunday. That would make it the largest one-week crowd at a tennis event in British history.

2300: Could we have wished for much more on day one of the ATP Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena? Britain's Andy Murray kick-starts his campaign with a battling victory over US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and then world number one Roger Federer survives a genuine scare to beat Fernando Verdasco.

2300: Could we have wished for much more on day one of the ATP Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena? Britain's Andy Murray kick-starts his campaign with a battling victory over US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and then world number one Roger Federer survives a genuine scare to beat Fernando Verdasco.

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery on Twitter: "Strange match, verdasco in charge for 90 mins, federer a comfortable winner in the end. Fed v Murray on Tuesday night should be a belter."


THIRD SET

Federer 4-6 7-5 6-1 Verdasco
How would you like to finish it Roger, with a love service game? You got it. An unreturnable serve puts Federer top of Group A on games won and he smashed his spare ball into the crowd. Game, set and match Federer.

*Federer 4-6 7-5 5-1 Verdasco
Fair play to Verdasco for getting on the scoreboard with a solid service game. But it's too little too late for the ATP Tour Finals debutant.

Federer 4-6 7-5 5-0 Verdasco*
Your attention turning to Federer-Murray on Tuesday evening yet? Mine is. Federer cruises through game five and will take huge comfort from the way his game has come together after a dodgy start.

*Federer 4-6 7-5 4-0 Verdasco
It's a shame but Verdasco seems to have all but thrown in the towel. Federer breaks serve again and his victory is a matter of when rather than if.

Text in your views on 81111
Daniel R in Kent via text on 81111:
"I'm at the O2, and my overall view of the venue is fantastic and in my honest opinion Federer was very poor in the first set but now he's regained his composure and taken the second set I reckon he will the third set with ease!"

Federer 4-6 7-5 3-0 Verdasco*
A love service game sealed with a forehand winner down the line. Not much more to say, really. Federer was all at sea early doors as he struggled to come to terms with the surface. But he settled early on in the second set and has never looked back. The scattering of empty seats appearing around the O2 Arena suggest the crowd know Federer has this one in the bag.

*Federer 4-6 7-5 2-0 Verdasco
It's fair to say Verdasco is now an absolute shadow of the player he was earlier in the match. The Spaniard has capitulated and Federer looks set to storm through to victory. Verdasco saves two break points - the first after a stunning backhand crosscourt winner from Federer - but miscues a backhand wide on the third and Federer is on a roll.

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery on Twitter: "Tension mounts in the media centre as we go into a decider - the last tube is an hour away and alternative plans are being made."

Federer 4-6 7-5 1-0 Verdasco*
Those of you hoping to catch the tube home from Greenwich will be hoping for a swift deciding set. And judging by the way Verdasco messed up his last service game in the second set, this could be over sooner than expected. Much to the crowd's frustration, the Spaniard takes a lengthy comfort break and, on returning, sits down for a couple of minutes to have a drink. Federer is busy keeping warm on the court and, when play resumes, produces a rasping service game.

SECOND SET

*Federer 4-6 7-5 Verdasco
Verdasco makes his first glaring error all match and it puts him in big trouble. The Spaniard thinks a lob is going long but it drops on the baseline and he hits his overhead into the umpire's chair. What was he thinking?! All of a sudden Federer has a set point and he takes it with an emphatic smash. Into a decider we go!

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery on Twitter: " I appear to be sitting 10ft from roger's biggest fan, about 8yrs old, "come on roger" every 30 seconds. But we'll let her off, big day."

Federer 4-6 6-5 Verdasco*
One minute Federer is ticking off one service game after the next with consummate ease, the next he is scrambling stay in the match. When Verdasco goes 30-0 up with some classy strokemaking the crowd can't believe what they're seeing. The world number one starts to gesticulate at the court in frustration but rallies to level the game and then get his neck in front. I think the supporters are willing Verdasco on but the left-hander - with just one title to his name all season - goes long with a backhand and is now serving to stay in the set.

*Federer 4-6 5-5 Verdasco
The momentum is most certainly with Federer but Verdasco is sticking in there. A double-fault puts him 15-0 down but the Spaniard responds positively and overpowers the world number one to level.

Federer 4-6 5-4 Verdasco*
Federer barely breaks sweat in edging ahead once more. A glorious inside-out forehand winner provides a apt finish to a ruthless game.

*Federer 4-6 4-4 Verdasco
As predicted, Federer goes full out for a break of serve at the start of game eight and forces Verdasco to net twice. But the man in yellow is one tough cookie, chasing every ball and cranking up that whipped forehand to devastating effect. Verdasco opens his body to fizz a clean forehand winner past Federer and secure and timely hold.

Federer 4-6 4-3 Verdasco*
Federer is beginning to find the corners with regularity and you sense he's really going to push hard for a break of serve now. Verdesco nets to restore Federer's lead and the pressure is back on Fernando 'the ladies man' Verdasco.

Get involved on 606
sisivale on 606: "Do you think Nadal has given Fernando a step by step how a leftie can beat Fed analysis?"

*Federer 4-6 3-3 Verdasco
For the first time in the set, Verdasco finds himself under pressure at 15-30 down on serve but he calmly hits back and then passes Federer at the net. The left-hander in buzzing out there and when Federer frames an attempted backhand out of the court, we're back on level terms.

Federer 4-6 3-2 Verdasco*
Federer races through another comfortable service game. Verdasco's struggling to threaten against the serve right now but has little to worry about given how well he's serving himself.

Bryanbros on Twitter: "Alright tweet universe, off to bed. Early one tomorrow. 9am boat ride to O2, 10:30 warmup, 12:30 match. Goodnight."

*Federer 4-6 2-2 Verdasco
There are precious few players in world tennis who can outlast Federer in marathon rallies. But, today, Verdasco is one of them and he's doing it on quite a regular basis. The world number eight has made barely any unforced errors so far and his levels of concentration and discipline can only be admired. Federer works hard to stay in contention and forces deuce but then sends a backhand into the tramlines. At game point down, Federer comes to the net but he is passed by a looping Verdasco backhand and the Spaniard pumps his fist with delight.

Federer 4-6 2-1 Verdasco*
Every point in the second set has gone on serve so far. Federer holds to love and looks to have hit his stride. But can he make an impact on the Verdasco serve?

*Federer 4-6 1-1 Verdasco
The eye-catching feature of Verdasco's game is his whippy forehand and it has given him plenty of joy this evening. But he even produces a rare backhand winner to ease through his first service game of the second set. The match is tantalisingly poised.

Federer 4-6 1-0 Verdasco*
I haven't seen Verdasco play this well since guiding his country to victory in last season's Davis Cup against Argentina. But Federer makes an assured start to the second set and - unlike in the first - holds his opening service game.

FIRST SET

*Federer 4-6 Verdasco
Verdasco is playing wonderfully fluent tennis. He shows not a hint on nervousness in what is a vital service game and totally dominates the world number one. The Spaniard wins takes his first ever set off Federer with a sweetly-timed winner.

Federer 4-5 Verdasco*
First real service game in which we've seen Federer assert any level of control on proceedings. Had had to win it and he did. Verdasco to serve for the set.

*Federer 3-5 Verdasco
There is only one man who deserves to win the opening set and it's not Roger Federer. Were it not for two double faults, Verdasco would have stormed through to 15. Those errors from the Spaniard give Federer deuce but another unforced error from the Swiss gives his opponent game point. Verdasco comes into mid-court to pass the world number one and performs a hop of delight. Federer must serve to stay in the set.

Get involved on 606
Tom_ on 606: "Federer seems to be getting tetchy about Verdy taking time between points - Federer being quick to the mark (15seconds) limit is 25s so Verdy doing nothing wrong."

Federer 3-4 Verdasco*
Can someone please tell me what's up with the world number one? Verdaso engineers two break points for a double break and Federer cuts a fairly forlorn figure. He does enough to rescue both and sees out the game, but something is not right.

*Federer 2-4 Verdasco
Verdasco receives a stern talking to from the umpire, who tells him in Spanish to start playing at the server's pace. The ticking off does little to disrupt his concentration, however, at the Spaniard holds to 15 when Federer sends a backhand long.

Federer 2-3 Verdasco*
There are more than a few gasps around the O2 as Federer pushes a forehand long to go 30-0 down on serve. But a successful Hawk-Eye challenge and a well-timed volley at the net get him back into contention and he comes through powerfully.

*Federer 1-3 Verdasco
I'm not quite sure why Verdasco is wearing a cap indoors but it's certainly doing no harm and a Sampras-style smash seals a love service game. Federer needs to step it up. The 15-time Grand Slam winner oozes calm but he doesn't want to let Verdasco get too comfortable out there.

Federer 1-2 Verdasco*
Federer's first ace puts the great Swiss 30-0 up and, despite a stinging crosscourt backhand winner from Verdasco, there are no genuine worries this time round. Federer is on the scoreboard.


*Federer 0-2 Verdasco
It looked as though Federer would break straight back when he goes 30-0 up with a sensational forehand winner down the line. But Verdasco claws his way back into the game with an ace out wide on the advantage side. Federer slices a backhand into the net at deuce and then loops one wide to concede the game. What a start by Verdasco.

Federer 0-1 Verdasco*
Well, well, well. Who was expecting that? Federer starts with a double fault then goes wide and long with forehands before netting a sliced backhand. The world number one broken to love. Night tennis in the London winter. What's the world coming to?
* Denotes next to serve.


2057: We've not seen too much of Federer since he was beaten in the US Open final by Del Potro so this should be intriguing. Here we go...

2055: If head-to-head records are anything to go by, Federer should win this in straight sets. Because that's what he's done on each of his previous three meetings with the man from Madrid. These two have never played each other indoors and Verdasco will hope that plays into his hands. I'm doubtful but stranger things have happened.

2052: The players have just arrived on court and are going through their paces. Fed does away with a maroon top to reveal his black match shirt. Verdasco is in yellow with a white cap.

2050: By the way, the 5 live sports extra commentary is available worldwide for a change so, wherever you are, tune in! As always, you can get involved in the text commentary by text to 81111, 606 or Twitter

2045: Unfortunately, there are no BBC TV pictures of this match but you can listen to the 5 live sports extra coverage on this website.

2040: "It's fun for me because I usually spend so much time at Wimbledon so, for a change, I'll get the see the city of London," says Federer. "I hope it's going to bring me some luck - it's a different venue but we're still in London and I hope I'll be able to bring my success over from Wimbledon. I've won four end-of-season titles and it's the best feeling in the world to go on vacation after winning the final title of the season. It's an open tournament but it will be good. The venue looks amazing. We're going to have a total attendance of more than 250,000 over the week and I'm looking forward to it."

2035: Federer, bidding to draw level with Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl on five end-of-season titles, takes on Spain's world number eight Fernando Verdasco.

2030: Four hours have passed since Andy Murray opened the singles event at the ATP World Tour Finals with victory over Juan del Potro but the O2 Arena remains a hub of excitement. Why? Because world number one Roger Federer is about to take to court. Life's good.

2025: World class tennis. In London. At quarter to nine on a Sunday evening in winter. Unprecedented, indeed, but are you complaining?




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see also
Murray revels in London spotlight
22 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray beats Del Potro in opener
22 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray v Del Potro as it happened
22 Nov 09 |  Tennis
ATP Finals photos
27 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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