Merely flicking cursory glances at the men's fourth round encounters for the day [Davydenko is already history], will not point towards any intrigue-inspiring match; though were one attentive enough, the match between 10th seeded Verdasco and the American John Isner is something more than mundane.
Of course, if everything had gone as per what the draw had envisaged, then this particular match, wouldn't have tempted the palate at all; but thanks to John Isner who ripped apart Roddick's dreams of making the cut at Flushing Meadows, the resultant scenario takes on a totally different light.
Exit Andy Roddick and enter John Isner, keeping the rival at the other end perfectly intact. The pros and cons begin to change; has its become easier for Verdasco to get an entry into the Quarterfinals, or will be the next casualty of the Isner storm taking over the already upset packed US Open?
Fernando Verdasco: He has not looked back since he defeated Andy Murray in the fourth round at the Australian Open this year and has been steadily improving since.
Considering that he belongs to the sect of tennis players, who are more comfortable on clay than anywhere else, Verdasco nevertheless is equally comfortable on the hard courts, though it took him a lot of time to peak in his career.
A gutsy left-hander, while he is full rhythm- he is a delight to watch providing a fan a thorough entertainment of high quality tennis [example; Davis Cup 2008 Finals Singles Rubber vs Jose Acasuso, etc..etc].
Will Win If: Verdasco's forehand is the biggest weapon in his arsenal and the one which, when he tries to get more aggressive from the baseline, gets thrashed for sure.
Against Isner, Verdasco will have to exercise a perfect control over his forehand; not making the movement rigid, but not allowing it to flex unnecessarily either.
In addition, he has to tackle Isner's strong serve which has been a strong point for the American. In the past three rounds, Isner has allowed just four break point conversions out of 13 break point chances, not allowing any quarter to any of his opponents so far.
Verdasco, not only has to deal with Isner's serve but also must test Isner's movement around the court. Owing to Isner's height, it is quite possible that his movements around the court will not be that free as Verdasco's would be in comparison; Verdy has to try and take advantage of this and as much as he can.
Will Lose If: There is nothing much that Isner needs to do in order to 'make' Verdasco lose; Verdasco's lapses in concentration are an effect of missing easy points [which happens a lot in his case] could cause the Spaniard to suffer a loss in the Quarterfinal berth.
Verdasco's serve, though not essentially weak, isn't great at the same time; double faults pose a huge threat, as Verdasco's serve has let him down on rope-tight situations in the past and more than once at that; any unnecessary faltering of serve,then he can very well add one more loss due to the same reason.
Intangibles: Playing five set matches won't make any difference to both players, as they have both shown the stamina and the endurance required to last as long as the match extends; it will just be "all in a day's work" in case such a situation manifests.
My Call: Another best of five. As much as I want Verdasco to win in a straight setter, going by Isner's previous conquests, this one should go down to the wire.
After all a bit of drama is always refreshing!