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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Number eight seed Fernando Verdasco pulled off the greatest comeback of his career when he rallied from two sets down to edge David Ferrer 5-7 6-7 6-3 6-3 7-6 in an all-Spanish fourth-round match at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.
Verdasco's hopes of reaching the tournament quarter-finals for a second straight year looked incredibly slim as he failed to find his range with his high-risk, heavy-hitting style of play and he duly lost the first two sets.
But a medical timeout for treatment to his right ankle turned the tide of a captivating match and the 26-year-old, immensely popular with the crowd in Louis Armstrong Stadium, unleashed a barrage of winners with his powerful forehand.
He leveled the match but found himself a break down in the fifth against the run of play before turning it around to win the four-hour, 23-minute encounter in a deciding tiebreak.
"It was a very tough match and after losing the first two sets it was the best comeback of my career," said Verdasco, who faces another Spanish showdown in the next round against either Rafa Nadal or Feliciano Lopez.
The game plans of the Davis Cup team mates were polar opposites. Ferrer relied on running to all corners of the court while Gonzalez, who hit 73 winners and 89 unforced errors, continually went for the big shots.
In all, the pair played out 384 shots late into the night but Verdasco saved his best for last as he edged the tiebreak 7-4 with a seemingly unreachable forehand before slumping to the ground exhausted in celebration.
Editing by Frank Pingue