A little surprisingly, it will be 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro that gets the night session assignment on Arthur Ashe Stadium rather than Rafael Nadal. There will still be a Spaniard on court though with Fernando Verdasco facing off against the Argentinian for a spot in the fourth round. Del Potro is currently 5-1 against Verdasco but their only meeting in the past 5 years was on the indoor courts of Stockholm.
Verdasco courted controversy in his round two match with accusations of coaching during an extreme heat break but that should not take away from his impressive performance to see off Andy Murray in four sets. Murray had shown glimpses of his former self during the match but it wasn’t enough as the Spaniard secured a 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory over the 2012 champion. “Obviously it was difficult, because of the conditions,” said Verdasco. “There’s too many things that you have to try to not think it over too much and just be focused on yourself, on your game, and try to do the best as you can out there.”
Del Potro has looked good in his first two rounds, picking up straight sets wins over a pair of Americans so far. He didn’t face a single break point in round two against Kudla while earning four breaks of his own in the 6-3 6-1 7-6 victory on Wednesday. While there is no doubt he lags behind Nadal in the contenders to make the final on this side of the draw, he is definitely playing at a high level consistently with his career high ranking of No. 3 further proving that.
“Fernando, it’s a really good player. I don’t like to play against lefty because they can mix it up all the time. They play different angles of the game. They make variations all the time. It’s not going to be easy for me.” Del Potro said on his opponent. With expectations of the Nadal clash in the final four, Verdasco should provide a stern test ahead of that. However, there are still several tough opponents ahead before he can think about revenge on the World No.1.
Prediction – Juan Martin Del Potro in four sets