Rafael Nadal crashed out of the Madrid Open losing to fellow country man Fernando Verdasco.
‘The king of clay’ lost his first match on the surface in twenty two games in a gruelling match which lasted just over three hours. The world number two left the competition in a two set defeat 6-3 3-6 7-5.
The world number two’s play was riddled with uncharacteristic errors and Verdasco took full advantage, racing to a 4-2 lead before winning the set. Nadal who has a 13-0 record on clay against hometown Verdasco then took a 3-1 lead in the second set and served out the remainder of the set.
Nadal looked on course to win the third and defining set and book his place in the fourth round as he led twenty eight year old Verdasco 5-2, but the his error ridden form returned and yet again Verdasco took full advantage playing great tennis on his way to tying the game up 5-5. He then broke Nadal’s serve for the third time and claimed a famous win with a strong forearm.
Verdasco reward for overthrowing the ‘clay king’ is a fourth round bout with sixth seed Tomas Berdych. The Czech defeated Frenchman Gael Monfils in straight sets 6-1 6-1.