Fourth seed Spaniard Fernando Verdasco has secured his sixth career title by beating a compatriot Nicolas Almagro in straight sets in the final of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship 2014. Third seed Almagro has finished runner-up at the World Tour 250 clay court event for the second consecutive year as he fell short against American John Isner last April.
Verdasco made his entrance into the match and squandered a double break point in the second game before seizing the rival’s service game a few minutes later to establish a 3-1 lead. He held the following couple of serves easily, but had to stay alert to escape a break back threat at 5-3. The 30-year-old averted the danger and grabbed the opener after the deuce.
Almagro was the first to break a deadlock in the set number two, but failed to hold on to the advantage as his opponent returned to the race by 4-4. The longest game of the Houston final soon followed with Verdasco saving five set points to eventually reach the tie-break. He also turned around the thirteenth game by winning two successive rallies on Almagro’s serve and converting on the very first match point for a 6-3, 7-6 (4) triumph which meant he could celebrate his first singles trophy after conquering Barcelona in 2010. The new Houston champion improved the head-to-head score against the two years younger countryman to 7-3.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve won a singles title,” said Verdasco. “It’s a very important day for me to win a tournament after a few years, and after the injury in my knee the last couple years, not feeling so well and not being able to play a few matches in a row feeling well. I’m so happy for everything in general.”
“He played a really good match today, and he’s the winner,” said Almagro. “It was a battle today, and he was really concentrated on his serve. I had many chances and I didn’t [take them], and that’s the key of the match.”