Nadal feels the blues as he loses in Madrid
(CNN) — World number two Rafael Nadal has sensationally lost to Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in the third round of the Madrid Open.
The loss was the first defeat of the clay court season for the six-time French Open champion.
Considered arguably the greatest player to ever set foot on clay, Nadal had recently won in Monte Carlo — a record eighth title — before clinching his seventh tournament victory in Barcelona. He had previously between Verdasco on all 13 of their previous meetings.
It took Verdasco three hours and 11 minutes to beat Nadal in an error-strewn match. Verdasco hit nine double faults but Nadal somehow conspired to lose despite leading 5-2 in the final set.
The shock defeat will reopen the debate about the Madrid Open’s controversial use of blue clay. World number one Novak Djokovic has been an outspoken critic of the surface.
“It’s impossible to move,” he was quoted as telling reporters by AFP earlier in the week.
“I cannot find the words to describe this court. It’s really tough to play like this on a center court. We need serious discussion about the future of this blue clay.
“We cannot change anything this year, but my first impressions are not good. I don’t want to be the one complaining, but I say honestly what I feel.”
Ironically it was Nadal that refused to be drawn on the issue of the blue clay after he had comfortably beaten Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets 6-2 6-2 on Wednesday.
“It was my first match here in these circumstances,” he said.
“I am very happy about my result, about the way that I played.”
Verdasco goes on to play the sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych in the next round.