Nadal stunned at Madrid Open 0
Rafael Nadalreacts during his match against Fernando Verdasco at the Madrid Open in Madrid, Spain, May 10, 2012. (JUAN MEDINA/Reuters)
Fernando Verdasco stunned Rafael Nadal in an all-Spanish third-round affair, while reigning champion Novak Djokovic and former champ Roger Federer were a pair of straight-set victors Thursday at the $4 million Madrid Open, an ATP World Tour 1000 Masters event.
The 15th-seeded Verdasco trailed the second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal 2-5 in the third set before charging back for a shocking 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 upset on the unusual blue clay at Madrid's Magic Box. Nadal was riding an 11-match winning streak and fresh off back-to-back clay-court titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Verdasco, who lost to Nadal in a semifinal in Barcelona just two weeks ago, topped Nadal in 3 hours, 10 minutes despite piling up nine double faults. The match featured 13 breaks of serve, including seven by the surprise winner.
The 28-year-old Verdasco had been 0-13 lifetime against his fellow lefthander.
The two-time Madrid champion Nadal was last year's runner-up here to Djokovic. The super Spaniard was also a Madrid runner-up back in 2009.
Nadal holds the record with 20 Masters titles, including the one in Monte Carlo last month.
The 25-year-old star has lost only two matches against fellow Spaniards on clay during his brilliant career.
The world No. 1 and reigning Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic handled Swiss Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in 1 hour, 45 minutes, while the third-seeded Federer blitzed 14th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2 in a mere 58 minutes. The sublime Swiss icon swatted 10 aces and was not broken on Day 5.
Djokovic's quarterfinal opponent will be his seventh-seeded fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic, who snuck past ninth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-1.
The two-time Madrid champion and two-time runner-up Federer is playing his first clay-court tennis of the year this week. The 30-year-old all-time great would overtake Nadal for the world No. 2 ranking with a title this weekend.
Federer's quarterfinal opponent will be dangerous fifth seed David Ferrer, who went the distance to outlast 11th-seeded fellow Spanish clay-court stalwart Nicolas Almagro, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (10-8). Ferrer needed 2 hours, 53 minutes to stave off Almagro, as both players smacked 13 aces in an entertaining outing.
Ferrer was the recent Barcelona runner-up to Nadal.
Federer is 12-0 lifetime against Ferrer, including a semifinal win here in Madrid two years ago.
Another Thursday upset came when 16th-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov outlasted fourth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded Czech slugger Tomas Berdych embarrassed oft-injured 12th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils in 50 minutes, 6-1, 6-1, and hot 10th- seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro handled Croat Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-4. Del Potro is fresh off his clay-court title in Estoril last week and will meet Dolgopolov on Friday. Berdych will battle Verdasco in the round of eight.
The 2012 Madrid titlist will earn $770,000.