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Verdasco marvels at Nadal's skilll

Spain's Fernando Verdasco says there were moments during his epic semi-final loss to Rafael Nadal when all he could do was laugh at the audacious shot-making of his Davis Cup teammate.

sports Updated: Jan 31, 2009 13:01 IST

Spain's Fernando Verdasco says there were moments during his epic semi-final loss to Rafael Nadal when all he could do was laugh at the audacious shot-making of his Davis Cup teammate.

Nadal beat Verdasco 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (1/7), 6-4 after a five hours and 14 minutes marathon that ended in the early hours of Saturday morning, the longest singles match in Australian Open history.

Verdasco, who came into the tournament as the world number 15, pushed Nadal to the absolute limit, hitting 95 winners to Nadal's 52.

His booming forehand had Nadal scrambling from one side of the court to the other, shots that against almost any other player wouldn't come back, but which Nadal somehow managed to return.

"He gets unbelievable balls," Verdasco said with a shake of his head.

"You need to win the point against him three or four times more than against all the other players.

"There are some good players like (Roger) Federer, (Andy) Murray, (Andy) Roddick, (James) Blake, whatever, all the top players -- with Rafa you need to win the point three times more than with all the others.

"He has unbelievable legs. He runs unbelievable. He's getting the ball back, you know, like such difficult ones.

"During the match there were a lot of points like this. You know, I remember the point that I made a smash so close to the net, and he just got the ball back.

"I put it again to the forehand, and he made an unbelievable passing shot cross-court with the forehand. I was, like, I couldn't believe it.

"But, you know, with Rafa, I started laughing because with him it is normal. With the others, no, but with him, I'm not surprised by this."

Verdasco said that while he had lost, he was proud of his achievements at this year's Open.

"I'm sad to play a match like this and lose but I am also very proud of myself for the match I played and how I have done in this tournament," he said.

"Both of us played unbelievable. I will have this match in my mind for the rest of my life."

Verdasco had never been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam in 22 previous attempts, but said that after beating Jose Acasuso to give Spain the Davis Cup in Argentina last November he believed he could do anything.