Last Update 21:59
Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Tennis: Nadal crashes to Verdasco in Australian Open first round

AFP , Tuesday 19 Jan 2016
Nadal
Share/Bookmark
Views: 695
Share/Bookmark
Views: 695

World number five Rafael Nadal was sent crashing out of the Australian Open first round by fellow Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco in an epic five-set match on Tuesday.

Verdasco won the thriller 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in four hours, 41 minutes to hand 14-time Grand Slam winner Nadal only his second ever first-round defeat at a major tournament.

The latest chastening loss for Nadal, 29, extends a Grand Slam dry spell which goes back to the 2014 French Open, and will increase fears over his long-term ability to compete at the elite level.

The rollercoaster encounter also recalls the 2009 semi-final between the two Spanish left-handers which Nadal won in five hours and 14 minutes, the second longest match in tournament history, en route to his only Australian Open title.

Verdasco looked headed for the exit when he trailed 0-2 early in the fifth set, only to reel off six straight games to snatch only his third victory in 17 encounters with Nadal.

Verdasco was on fire with his thumping forehand, hitting 41 forehand winners in a total of 90 outright winners.

His all-or-nothing approach was shown by his 91 unforced errors as he trailed Nadal by two sets to one in an awesome hitting display on Rod Laver Arena.

He broke Nadal's serve five times, while losing his service on six occasions in the battle of the left-handers.

"I think I played unbelievable in the final set from that early break and I started hitting winners," said the 45th-ranked Verdasco.

"I started serving better in the fourth set and he started to hit a little less deep so I started to come in more and tried to be aggressive and went well."

It was the first time Nadal had lost in the opening round of a major tournament since his shock loss to Steve Darcis at Wimbledon in 2013.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.