Verdasco stuns clay king Nadal
Madrid - 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 team-mate's serve seven times on the blue clay of the Manolo Santana showcourt and clubbed 31 winners to his opponent's 19 to set up a last-eight clash against Czech Tomas Berdych.
Nadal, the world No 2 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. Results on the sixth day of the Madrid Masters on Thursday (x denotes seeding):Men
Fernando Verdasco bt Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Tomas Berdych (CZE x6) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x12) 6-1, 6-1
Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR x16) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x4) 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2)
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG x10) bt Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-2, 6-4Women
Maria Sharapova (RUS x2) bt Lucie Safarova (CZE) walkover, stomach illness.
Serena Williams (USA x9) bt Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x6) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
Lucie Hradecka (CZE) bt Elena Makarova (RUS) 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x4) bt Roberta Vinci (ITA) 7-6 (7/1), 6-4