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May 30, 2017

Fernando Verdasco

Paris, France


6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. What do you think that made the difference today?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, it was a really tough first set, the first one of today. And I think with many games for both of us with chances to win one or the other.

And, you know, I think that that moment of winning the third set gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of air to play the fourth. And I think it was hard for him on the other side. Like, you know, to start again and have to win two more sets.

So what I think is like big part of the victory was in that third set. Then after the fourth, of course, you know, I started strong again. I tried to don't do what I did yesterday after winning the first set of the match. And, you know, I've been able to make the break and then to lose my serve again and win the match.

Q. A lot of players who are seeded would probably consider you to be an absolute nightmare draw in the first round. Would you agree with that sort of assessment because they know how good you can be when you're on form?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I mean, I have been close to being seeded here. Finally, because of the points that I lost in Madrid, it was one round, plus, you know, like just the other guy behind me took few positions. And a few weeks ago, I was 31 and now I was 37, then 35, 37.

So at the end, you know, of course, when you play against a player that is 35, he's one of the best that is not seeded, not because it's me, just because even if I was No. 12 and I play against No. 35 of the seeded, he's the best ranking of not seeded.

And then, you know, I just tried to prepare this tournament as best as possible, and there are many good players out there that they can beat you. So at the end, you know, it's a long battle every match, five sets here on clay, you have to be physically very prepared and mentally too, to fight for a long match every day.

And, you know, is what I tried yesterday and what I tried today, and, you know, I'm very happy of the way that I played and being able to beat a player like Alexander that is one of the players with, you know, in such a great form, not because only winning Rome, also the weeks before and almost the last year already.

So it was a great victory for me, but, you know, this has to be not only like a point just to stay and to enjoy, of course, I have to enjoy, but not just to enjoy, also to keep going, no? To believe in myself and keep fighting and keep playing the same way that I did against him the next match. And try to make a good tournament here.

Q. Does age play any kind of role in matches on this big stages? Do you think that it could be an advantage to play someone that is way less experienced than you?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I don't think so because when you win you can say that, but then he won Rome being so young just a week ago, with the same experience as right now. Even less, because now he has experience of winning a Masters series that he didn't have one week ago.

So at the end, you know, it's just every day you have to be there. It's a new battle, a new match, and you just have to try your best. Of course, not every day you have your best day or feeling your best, but it's not easy. At the end in individual sport you cannot hide like a team sport that if you're not good, someone can replace you. Here you have to be every day giving your best and it's not easy.

So at the end I just think that I won because a little bit more consistent than him and, you know, I won a little bit more the important points in the third set than him, what makes me win the third set. And then also in the fourth set to being able to maintain that level and, you know, and make him play a little bit more aggressive and maybe that make him also make more mistakes and help me to finally win the match.

Q. Your next opponent is Pierre-Hugues Herbert. What do you think about this match?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, he's a tough match. It's a tough match, of course, like everybody else. He's a player that we played in Indian Wells a few months ago and, you know, he has a great serve, great volley. The best, one of the best doubles players in the world, and also a great singles player. He's playing here at home. And of course he's going to be a difficult match.

I will try to play same level as today or even better if I can, of course. But I know it's going to be a very tough match and I just want to prepare the match the same that if I was playing against Zverev. So at the end the ranking, of course, is there and is tougher to play against a top ten player or top five player or whatever. Someone that is 40 or 50, but at the end you have to beat that guy also. Because if he's here and he's already winning one match, he's already playing good and he's going to be difficult also.

So I just want to keep being focused and keep improving and keep playing better every day.

Q. Zverev played very far from the line. Do you have an explanation or do you consider it was a key point of the game?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I don't know. I mean, I was, of course, trying to keep him back because he's a player that when he's inside the court, he's very dangerous. His shots are very powerful, serve, forehand, backhand, it doesn't matter. When you play short, he normally kills you both sides.

So I was just trying to play as deep as possible and trying to keep him as far from the baseline as possible also.

You know, and sometimes I have been able, sometimes not. Sometimes I was the one playing back and just trying to play deep to again come inside the court and dictate the point.

But it was a tough battle. Very close. Very close third set. First set of the day. And you know, like I said before, I think that being able to win that tough third set is what made me confident and maybe make him go down a little bit in the fourth and what makes me being able to win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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