29 Jun 2012

Nadal suffers shock exit from Wimbledon

10:04 am on 29 June 2012

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal has crashed to his worst grand slam defeat in seven years, when Czech Lukas Rosol, the world No. 100, pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Wimbledon history.

Rosol, whose previous five visits to Wimbledon had ended in first round losses in qualifying, beat Nadal, 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the second round.

It was a stunning upset for the 2008 and 2010 champion and 11-time grand slam title winner.

The defeat was his earliest exit at a major since the same stage of the 2005 Wimbledon championship when he was beaten by Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, AFP reports.

Rosol is the lowest-ranked player ever to beat Nadal at a grand slam and has now matched his best ever performance at a major, having reached the third round at the 2011 French Open.

Nadal had taken the first set on a tie-breaker before his campaign unravelled.

After Rosol had levelled the tie and taken a 2-1 lead on a break in the third, it was clear that the Czech was getting under the Spaniard's skin.

Nadal complained to the umpire over his 26-year-old opponent's constant skipping around on the baseline and his distracting habit of swishing his racquet from side to side as he was preparing to serve.

He was broken to trail 2-1 and the players were involved in a shoulder-charge at the changeover.

Nadal went long to drop the third set but dominated the fourth, securing it with a combination of stirring defence and thrilling counter-attacks.

All England Club officials insisted the match should be finished so the Centre Court roof was closed which meant a 45-minute delay before the conditions were right for a fifth set.

On resumption, Rosol, playing a five-set match for just the third time in his career, broke in the first game and then held his nerve.

He sent down his 21st ace to go to match point and then claimed his historic win with a 22nd to take his place in the record books.

Rosol will face German 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber for a place in the last 16.