At 1.08am, there shouldn’t have been a loser.
With five hours and 14 minutes on the board, there shouldn’t have been a loser.
With 95 winners to his name, Fernando Verdasco shouldn’t have been a loser.
But there was; he was.
And at the end of the day, the No. 14 seed’s double fault on match point was, extraordinarily, the only thing to statistically separate the two players. Of the 385 points played in the match, Verdasco won 192 – and his opponent one more. That one.
“Tennis is like this sometimes, no?” Verdasco said after the match.
“What can I do? I was trying the same like in all the other games in the match. But … just to try a good second serve; I played two double faults.”
After playing one of the most extraordinary matches in Grand Slam history, one can only sympathise with the vanquished Spaniard.
After all, up until this tournament Verdasco’s best Grand Slam showing had been the fourth round – reached on five occasions, but never at the Australian Open.
Now he has the ignominy of being on the losing end of the longest match in Australian Open history.
“Is sad … to play one match like this and lost after five hours. But, you know, for the other side, I need to be proud for the tournament I made and the level I played today also. I think it was unbelievable match.
“You know, we both played unbelievable … in these matches, five sets, [Nadal] is the toughest player. You know, and I was there all the time, too … for sure I will have this match in my mind all my life.”
Indeed he should.
Although Verdasco had never beaten the world No.1, this was by far their most closely-contested meeting.
Perhaps the Spaniard can now take solace that he belongs in the top ranks of men’s tennis.
“I'm so proud of all the things I made today and these two, almost two weeks,” Verdasco said.
“These matches, anyway, they are so long, there are so many chances for both players, so many situations, they can change a match. So is difficult to know everything.”
We do know one thing, however; Fernando Verdasco isn’t going to disappear any time soon.