Roger Federer will take on Fernando Ferdasco in the third round at the 2012 US Open, with the winner booking himself a spot in the final 16 of the tournament.
The Fed Express entered the competition as the World No. 1 and favorite for many to clinch another Grand Slam title, and whilst he has started the 2012 US Open in strong fashion, he will be wary of his Spanish opponent in this one.
Verdasco is more than capable of topping the Swiss maestro, but he will have to play one of the strongest performances we have seen from him in recent seasons.
He will not be able to simply sit back and expect Federer to make the mistakes that will win him points; he will need to be aggressive and try and take control of the rallies and force himself into the dominant position—something that is no doubt very difficult to do against a strong player like Federer.
Federer currently ranks in the top five at the tournament for first serve percentage—a category in which Verdasco doesn't rank in the top 20. The Swiss international is very difficult to break on his own service game, and has continued to establish that fact throughout the tournament so far.
However, should that serve fail to land, Verdasco has the powerful groundstrokes to capitalize on—something he has done throughout the tournament already.
The Spaniard has won a staggering 57 points on his opponents' second serve, and will no doubt cause problems for Federer on his.
Against Federer, Verdasco will need to keep his unforced errors to a minimum—something he has excelled at so far in the tournament. He has conceded just 33 unforced errors through his first two matches—including just seven in his last match.
Yet despite all of this, it simply doesn't look like it's enough to topple the World No. 1 and cause a shock upset at the 2012 US Open.
Verdasco will be a tough opponent, and his strong service game and lack of unforced errors will prove to be tougher for the Fed Express than many expected, but ultimately, the favorite will prevail in the end in straight sets.
The Spaniard is simply not at the same level that Federer is—particularly in 2012, where has seemingly found new life—and the result will prove that fact to be true.
After a close first set, Federer will pull away as the match wears on—staking his claim as the favorite to clinch the 2012 US Open at Flushing Meadows.
How do you think the Federer-Verdasco match will transpire?
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All stats courtesy of the US Open Official Website.