>Robin Soderling and Fernando Verdasco are due to square off later today at the Barcelona Open 500 point tournament. The two players are fairly evenly matched if you look at their history in finals. Soderling has played one more final, and won one more title than Verdasco, however, they have both lost 7 finals, with both player having also already claimed a title this year.
They are, however, uneven in the head to head match up. Soderlings leads 4-1, winning their last three encounters. Verdasco has never beaten Soderling on clay but has always pushed the Swede. Their first meeting was in 2005 at Roland Garros where Soderling took the match in 5 sets. The only other time they played on clay was in 2007 in Sweden where the match came down to a third set tie break with the home crowd favourite walking away the victor.
Verdasco will importantly have the crowd on his side. He also has the cojones, coming back from a set and a break down against Ferrer in the semi’s. While Soderling has played some incredible tennis, Fernando was able to step it up a notch against Nadal in the Monte Carlo finals, he was just simply no match for the King of Clay. This is not the case with Soderling. Soderling is nowhere near as smooth on clay as Nadal and his movement leaves a little to be desired, however, he did send Nadal packing at last years Roland Garros so he can’t be underestimated. I think Verdasco will come out on top in three sets, losing one set after a dismal drop in concentration and then fighting his way back into the match with the Spanish crowd behind him.
“It’s going to be a very difficult final. Soderling is a player who hits extremely hard, you have to move him around and try to tire him out so that his shots are not as precise.” – Fernando Verdasco