Nadal friend and victim Verdasco picks Federer to win

Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:05am EDT
 
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal's latest U.S. Open victim, his friend Fernando Verdasco, said his pick to win the year's last grand slam would be Roger Federer and not his Spanish Davis Cup team mate.

Nadal stayed on track to win the only major title to elude him by vanquishing Verdasco 7-5 6-3 6-4 to reach the semi-finals without the loss of a set at Flushing Meadows on Thursday.

"He's playing good," Verdasco said of top-seeded Nadal, who dropped his first and only service game of the tournament in the third game of the opening set of their quarter-final to end a run of 62 successive holds.

"If I am not wrong, I think that he will play the final against Roger. It's going to be a tough match, because I think Roger plays really good in these conditions.

"I think if I need to bet here, I will bet for Roger. I think that he won five times here and he likes these conditions."

Nadal, who improved his record to 11-0 against Verdasco, said his fellow-lefthander's prediction was understandable.

"For sure Roger is the favorite of the tournament," said Nadal after booking his third successive trip to U.S. Open semi-finals. "Especially because he won five times. And six finals in a row. No one doubt on that.

"And I am in the semi-finals, so I don't think about the final. Everybody free to think, and what Fernando says is completely fair."   Continued...

 
<p>Fernando Verdasco of Spain tosses his racket during his match against compatriot Rafael Nadal during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 9, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque</p>