Rafael Nadal, right, was beaten by Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco in Melbourne (AP).

Rafael Nadal suffers first-round loss to Fernando Verdasco at Australian Open

Published Add your comment

Article continues below

Article continues below

Rafael Nadal bowed out in the Australian Open first round as fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco came from behind to win 7-6 (8/6), 4-6 3-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-2.

Nadal led by two sets to one and then 2-0 in the decider in Rod Laver Arena but Verdasco came roaring back, unleashing an incredible 90 winners en route to a superb victory.

The world number 45 will now face Israel's Dudi Sela in round two, while Nadal exits a third consecutive grand slam in the first week.

"I played unbelievable in the fifth set from after the break he made against me," Verdasco said.

"I just started hitting winners - I don't know how. I was closing my eyes and everything was coming in."

Nadal overcame Verdasco in a momentous five-setter in the Australian Open semi-finals six years ago, but few expected a similar battle with Verdasco now 32 and with his best days behind him.

Nadal, though, is not the powerhouse presence he once was, having crashed out in the second round at Wimbledon last year and US Open third round.

There had been signs of a revival in recent weeks but the 14-time major champion was simply unable to cope with Verdasco's superior baseline hitting, which yielded 90 winners - 41 of them forehands - to Nadal's 37.

A double fault at 6-6 in the first-set tie-break was enough to give Verdasco an early lead, but Nadal looked to have ridden the storm when he clinched the next two sets - the first following a thrilling rally, which ended with Nadal roaring and pumping his fists.

However, Verdasco refused to lie down, cranking up the power on his forehand and nicking the fourth set to force a decider.

Again Nadal edged ahead with an early break in the fifth, but it was Verdasco who strung together six games in a row, including two breaks of serve, to seal victory in four hours and 41 minutes.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:


Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport - Tennis Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again