In one of the major upsets of the tournament, Rafael Nadal unexpectedly left the Australian Open tennis tournament yesterday after suffering a first-round defeat in Melbourne at the hands of Fernando Verdasco.
In a first ever, the former world number one was defeated in the opening stages of the championship after a slump that saw him lose in five sets 7 – 6, 4 – 6, 3 – 6, 7 – 6, 6 – 2 to his fellow countryman. Nadal is unlikely to have looked forward to meeting this early in the championship with Verdasco considering he lost two of their past three matchups.
Yesterday he dropped a very important tie-breaker on their opening set, which he managed to rally back from after the 14 Grand Slam title holder authoritatively stamped his control on the match by winning the next two sets comfortably, before suffering a dramatic collapse in form during the closing stages.
Seemingly, Nadal’s nerves failed during the fourth set after a severe testing by Verdasco’s courageous approach, this saw Nadal concede another important break that he later managed to reverse and retake Verdasco’s. The final writing on the wall was when the 2009 champ conceded the last set after another tie-breaker.
This forced the two into a final and dramatic decider, where Nadal broke through again to take an early 2 – 0 match lead, he finally broke unable to add one more game after Verdasco propelled a barrage of accurate forehands forcing the fifth-ranked and one of the tournament favourites for the final towards his first early exit.
This latest defeat represents Nadal with a worrying setback in his attempt to break his extended barren spell that saw him lose his number one ranking by failing to win a single Grand Slam since the French Open in 2014.
An unbelieving Verdasco who hit 90 total outright winning strikes of which 41 were forehands, said in a post-match interview that he just started hitting everything. He thought that he played an unbelievable game in the fifth set from after the break and that he does not know how he just started striking winners. He said he just closed his eyes when he came into the net, he just kept repeating the process, which went well in the end.
Posted in Uncategorized by admin with .