By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Six years ago Spain’s Fernando Verdasco led Andy Murray by two sets in the Wimbledon quarter-finals only to let the British favourite off the hook and allow him to continue his journey to what would be an historic title.
On Wednesday, the feisty left-hander, found himself two sets behind to Kyle Edmund, the man with the onerous task of trying to fill the void left by Murray’s absence from the singles draw.
Where there were roars of joy from around the grounds after that see-saw battle in 2013, this time there were groans as Verdasco turned the tables to win 4-6 4-6 7-6(3) 6-3 6-4.
The 24-year-old Edmund, seeded 30th, was playing the kind of dazzling tennis two-time champion Murray would have been proud of as he dominated with his clubbing forehand.
Victory looked all but assured when he moved a break up in the third set but the 35-year-old Verdasco, making his 17th appearance at the All England Club, is no quitter.
Using his own mighty forehand, the left-hander hammered his way back to win the third set on a tiebreak and with Edmund troubled by his knee, he dominated thereafter to win from a two-set deficit for the sixth time in his career.
The previous day had been a profitable one for the British contingent with the number of players through to the second round reaching seven, the most since 2006.
But the crowds wedged in watching Edmund on the big screen on “Henman Hill” were left disappointed as his challenge faded against the world number 37.
Verdasco now plays Italian Thomas Fabbiano who claimed a second successive five-set victory by beating 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic.
Earlier, Britain’s Heather Watson bowed out in three sets to Estonia’s 20th seed Anett Kontaveit.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Ken Ferris)