Tennis: Verdasco, Ferrer set up semifinal clash

Fernando Verdasco eliminated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Photo / Dean Purcell
Fernando Verdasco eliminated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Photo / Dean Purcell

Fernando Verdasco finally won his quarter-final at the Heineken Open, nearly 17 hours after it started.

The third seed beat fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5 6-4 to move into the semifinals, where he will meet top seed and defending champion David Ferrer.

Verdasco led Garcia-Lopez 3-1 last night when rain stopped play and he will return later in the day to play his semifinal as the tournament attempts to get back on schedule following yesterday's rain.

Ferrer was made to work hard for a spot in the semifinals by Alejandro Falla, eventually beating the Colombian 6-4 4-6 6-3.

Ferrer was a break down in the third set against the tricky left-hander but rallied to win the last five games.

The match was originally due to be played last night but persistent rain in Auckland meant it was held over until this morning.

It meant Ferrer was pushed onto an outside court, a highly unusual venue for the top seed and defending champion in normal circumstances, in an effort to get the tournament back on schedule.

The first semifinal between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Olivier Rochus is scheduled for this afternoon.

Meanwhile Verdasco has drawn Australian Bernard Tomic in the opening round of the Australian Open starting next week, with a possible fourth round match against four-time Open champion Roger Federer. Verdasco will be the 22nd seed in Melbourne.

Ferrer, the Australian Open's fifth seed, will face Portugal's Rui Machado in the opening round and sits on world number one Novak Djokovic's side of the draw with a potential quarter-final matchup against last year's champion.

- APNZ

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