Spanish veteran, Fernando Verdasco progressed to the fourth round of the 2018 French Open on Thursday after defeating Bulgarian fourth seed, Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. He won the tie with a comprehensive score-line of 7-6(7-4), 6-2, 6-4.
The clay courts of the French Open have never been a strong suit for Dimitrov, who was knocked out of the third round for a third time in his career. The first set started with both players breaking each others’ serve, marking a nervy start.
But when presented with a chance to break Verdasco and win the first set, Dimitrov squandered four set points. The Spaniard eventually tied the set at 6-6 and was behind 1-3 in the tie-break but rallied impressively to take the set with a 7-4 win.
Dimitrov tried to be competitive in the second set but failed miserably. Verdasco too failed to break his serve initially before regaining composure and winning four games in a row to take the set 6-2.
The third set saw Dimitrov up his game a notch, saving two break points but Verdasco converted his first break opportunity in the 10th game and move comfortably into the fourth round of the French Open.
He will now face former champion, Serbian Novak Djokovic who prevailed against another enterprising Spaniard in Robert Bautista Agut. He took four sets but got the job done with a 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory.
Djokovic will not be too worried with the prospect of having to face Verdasco as he holds the head-to-head advantage with 10 wins to the Spaniard’s 4.
Meanwhile, another potential contender for the French Open title, German Alexander Zverev survived a scare from Damir Dzumhur before finally coming through with a 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 victory, spending almost four hours on court. It was a second-straight five-setter for the 21-year-old, who also had to battle past Dusan Lajovic in the previous round.