A corner of the Foro Italico echoed to cheers of “Fernando, Fernando” on Thursday evening as one of Spain’s best tennis exports completed his second victory of the day at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Fernando Verdasco, who hoped to continue his confident run in Rome after knocking out Dominic Thiem earlier in the day, held his nerve to overcome Russian No. 11 seed Karen Khachanov 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 10 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals. Last week, at the Mutua Madrid Open, the 25-year-old beat Khachanov 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-5 in the second round.
Verdasco, who has not contested a clay-court ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final since May 2012 in the Spanish capital, Madrid, will next play second-seeded countryman and eight-time former champion Rafael Nadal or No. 14 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.
Verdasco saved a break point in the first game of the decider, then pressed Khachanov at 2-3 before finally making a breakthrough at 3-4, 30/40 when his Russian opponent hooked a forehand narrowly wide. Khachanov is now 10-12 on the year, following his first ATP Masters 1000 crown at the Rolex Paris Masters in November 2018.