It’s not a seeded affair, but this could have the makings of the best match on Thursday in London. Bernard Tomic will seek to continue his stranglehold on this series. He has beaten Fernando Verdasco three of the four times that they have met previously. They meet in round two action at Queen’s Club for the Aegon Championships.
Bernard Tomic vs Fernando Verdasco
Both players secured quality wins to open their week at Queen’s Club. Tomic beat 2015 finalist Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4. Anderson was unable to produce his best serve as the Aussie broke him three times. Tomic was solid enough with his own game, winning 74 percent of his service points. He was broken just once on four chances. The win moved Tomic to 2-1 on this year’s grass court swing after he went 1-1 in the Netherlands, losing to eventual Ricoh Open champion Nicolas Mahut in the quarterfinals.
Fernando Verdasco pulled off the seeded upset of Stan Wawrinka to open play at Queen’s Club for the Spaniard. Verdasco beat Wawrinka in a rain-delayed first round match 6-2, 7-6 (3). The lefty was better in the big moments, saving all eight of his break points against the Swiss. Wawrinka was unable to match that effort as he was broken twice on four chances. Verdasco’s first serve produced more with a 78 percent win rate, while Wawrinka was markedly worse at just 68 percent. The second seeded Swiss blamed his lack of a good result on needing more grass court practice.
The last meeting between Tomic and Verdasco came last fall at the Shanghai Masters. Tomic won that match 6-3, 7-6. Tomic’s prior two wins over the lefty came in Stockholm in 2014 and at the 2012 Australian Open. Both of those matches featured tight endings. Tomic prevailed in Stockholm 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) and in Melbourne 4-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. Verdasco’s lone win came in Brisbane back in 2009.
Despite Tomic’s perceived expertise on grass, he’s just a shade over .500 on the surface for his career. Verdasco has right around a 60 percent win rate on grass during his career. Verdasco’s confidence should be high here despite the head-to-head record. One, even if it was a Non-Slam Stan performance, he beat a Top 5 player in round one here. And secondly, Tomic hasn’t won back-to-back matches since February.
Verdasco obviously isn’t tremendously over matched here with how close their matches have played out. For the Spaniard, his lefty serve can still be a solid weapon when it is working. Tomic at times can have a fully locked and loaded serve on this surface that is hard to break down. If both bring something near the level of their first round matches, then this should be a good one.
Off the ground, you’re going to see those slices from Tomic. That’s his game. His variety is what makes him effective when he’s full engaged in a match. Verdasco has the big forehand and an adequate double handed backhand. Tomic would do well to target the weaker backhand side more often, while Verdasco has a more challenging task. Tomic’s backhand might be his weaker stroke, but it also has great variety to it that can really be used to craft points well. Verdasco would do well to simply make the points shorter and aggressive, rather than engaing in too many rallies.
Interestingly, this match carries with it a lot of similarities to Verdasco’s opener against Wawrinka. He’s going in against a talented player, but a player who is prone to distracted efforts. Tomic did show good focus in his opener against Anderson on a smaller Court 2 that had plenty of its own distractions. Tomic has been sure to mention his work with Lleyton Hewitt this week in prep for Wimbledon and that can’t hurt him in this spot either. That kind of focus and prep plus the confidence of beating Verdasco three straight times could be enough for another win if he brings that same consistency to Thursday’s match.
Tomic wins in three sets