SPANIARD Fernando Verdasco was one of the most impressive players at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. In the semifinal, he had five match points against Novak Djokovic, though he could not hold on to them.
Even his march into the last four was a dashing affair as he scalped seeded players one after the other.
In the pre-quarterfinal, he nailed Germany’s David Goffin 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) and followed it up with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic in the last eight.
Though he could not repeat his giant-killing act against the world No.2, Verdasco sounded pleased with his Doha outing.
“It was a great week to start the year. I beat two players in top 20 and was just a point away from beating someone who was No.1 not long ago. Hopefully, it’ll herald a good year for me,” said Verdasco.
The left-hander, who was once touted as the next Rafael Nadal, is still remembered for the epic 2009 Australian Open semifinal, which lasted five hours and 14 minutes against his compatriot. It was then a record.
The 33-year-old recently made Doha his base and explained the rationale behind the move.
“I feel like home here. I know this place since 2005. That’s when I first played here. They make me feel like home — not only at the Qatar Tennis Federation, but also at BeIN SPORTS and Smash Tennis Academy. It’s a great place for me to be a part of. Also having friends by my side, it’s so important that they support me. I think it’s really good for me,” Verdasco concluded.