Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling, each trying to win their second tournament of 2010, faced off for the Barcelona title.
At the 2010 Monte Carlo Masters, Fernando Verdasco put an end to an unlikely streak: The Spaniard reached a clay-court final for the first time in nearly two years. Before his run to the biggest championship match of his career, the 2009 Australian Open semifinalist had reached finals on grass and hard courts, with his most recent title coming indoors near the beginning of 2010.
His savvy on the dirt in Monte Carlo showed when he beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the semifinals. However, he was routed by his countryman Rafael Nadal in the final, only managing to win one game.
Overcoming that disappointing showing, Verdasco reached another final at the next tournament on his schedule, the Barcelona Open. Five-time champion Nadal withdrew from the event due to fatigue, which presented a huge opportunity for the field.
Robin Soderling, the number-two seed, advanced to the final out of the bottom half of the draw. The Swede, who famously upset Nadal at the French Open the year prior, didn’t drop a set over his first four matches in Barcelona to make his second final of 2010.
Going into their first encounter in nearly two years, Soderling had won four of their five matches, which included a 2-0 mark against Verdasco on clay. The Spaniard, though, struck first in this match as he broke Soderling 3-3 and again at 5-3 to take the opener.
In the second set, the big-hitting Swede began to attack more and earned a break of his own at 3-3. Continuing to push forward, Soderling evened the match by winning the set 6-4.
The number-five seed managed to shift the momentum back in his favor early on in the decider, taking a 3-1 lead after an early break. From there, Verdasco kept the advantage, gaining double match point while serving at 5-3. When Soderling hit a backhand wide on the first one, Verdasco clinched the biggest title of his career.
Verdasco reached championship matches in two successive weeks for the first time.
Verdasco’s win marked the eighth year in a row a Spaniard captured the tournament.
The last Swede to win the tournament was Kent Carlsson in 1988, who took home the title then for the second time in three years. From 1982 to 1988, a Swede made the final each year, with Mats Wilander winning three times.
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