A badly out of sorts Rafael Nadal crashed to his first defeat on clay in 23 matches when he was upset 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 by Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco in a thrilling third-round match at the Madrid Open on Thursday.
Nadal had beaten Verdasco, the 15th seed at his home town Masters event, in all 13 of their previous meetings but an error-strewn performance ended his bid for a third straight clay title this season and deprived him of a chance to avenge his defeat to Novak Djokovic in last year’s final.
Verdasco broke his Davis Cup teammate’s serve seven times on the blue clay of the Manolo Santana show court and clubbed 31 winners to his opponent’s 19 to set up a last-eight clash against Tomas Berdych.
Nadal, the world number two and French Open champion, looked to be cruising to victory at 5-2 in the deciding set but twice faltered when serving for the match and Verdasco incredibly conjured another break when he converted his second match point with yet another crashing forehand.
Hesh-Bops make quarters cut
Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna overcame a late resistance from Santiago Gonzalez and Christopher Kas to move to the quarterfinals of the ATP
Madrid Masters. The seventh seed Indian pair took one hour and three minutes to eke out a 6-1, 7-6 (2) win over the Mexican-German unseeded pair in the second round of the clay court elite event.
The Indians converted both the break chances they got in the first set and then saved one chance in the second set to make it to the last-eight.
Meanwhile, Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek will take on Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils in their second-round clash.