ATP Nottingham: Kevin Anderson fires his way past Fernando Verdasco

Kevin Anderson booked his safe passage into the quarterfinals at the Aegon Open in Nottingham courtesy of a straight sets win over the 14th seed Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6(6).

A swift first set from the South African

Heading into the match, the Spaniard led their head to head 2-1, but the South African won their last encounter at the Australian Open in 2013, winning in five sets in their third round contest. The match was moved to Court 4 at 7pm BST after the match between Gilles Muller and Mikhail Youzhny went to a third set on Centre Court. Anderson came through a tough three set battle with Ivan Dodig on Tuesday evening, while Verdasco saw off Victor Estrella Burgos in the second round.

The top seed got off to the perfect start after a double fault from Verdasco handed Anderson an early break before he held to love to take a 3-0 lead. Both players continued to hold serve throughout the remainder of the opening set, with Anderson closing it out to love on serve 6-3, finishing with an ace.

Frustrating evening for Verdasco. Photo: Getty
Frustrating evening for Verdasco. Photo: Getty

Far more competitive second set

The Spaniard struggled at the start of the second set down 15-30 but recovered with an ace and a forehand down the line winner to hold. He also had a nightmare start to his following service game, hitting two double faults to go down 0-40. However, Verdasco hung tough, winning five points in a row to hold.

In the seventh game, the Spaniard was once again facing break point but remained firm to move back in front. Anderson faced his only real pressure on serve in the tenth game at 30-30 and deuce, but the South African produced some timely first serves to get out of trouble. The top seed then had another look at the Verdasco serve at 0-30, but the Spaniard played superbly well to win four points in a row. After neither player could gain the edge, we were set for a second set tiebreak.

The top seed gained the mini-break immediately after a Verdasco unforced error and raced into a 3-0 lead. Anderson maintained that advantage up until two match points at 6-4. At this point, with the match at his mercy, the South African made two unforced errors on the forehand side. After being handed a lifeline, the Spaniard could not capitalize as he double faulted before the world number 24 closed out the match on serve 6-3, 7-6(6).

Anderson will next play the American Steve Johnson last up on Centre Court on Thursday after the sixth seed defeated Vasek Pospisil in straight sets 7-6(4), 7-6(1).