TENNIS

Verdasco upends Nadal at 14th time of asking

World number two blames poor movement on unusual clay surface

Fernando Verdasco celebrates winning against compatriot Rafael Nadal.
Fernando Verdasco celebrates winning against compatriot Rafael Nadal.JAVIER SORIANO (AFP)

It was a result nobody could have predicted. Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the Madrid Open on Thursday by his fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco, the man who has lost to him in all their previous 13 encounters — the biggest run of defeats that any active player has racked up against the same opponent.

“I’m speechless,” said Verdasco, who was on the verge of tears after his 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 third-round win over the world number two. “I feel very happy and I’m thinking about all the times I tried to win and failed.”

The Madrileño is only the seventh player to beat Nadal on his favored clay surface since 2005.

Nadal once again expressed his unhappiness with the new blue clay surface at the event. “Movements are very important to me. I couldn’t move and I lost because I deserved to,” he said.

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