Monday, June 24, 2013

2013 WIMBLEDON: Nadal Loses to Darcis(#135) in 1st Round!

For the first time ever, Rafael Nadal has lost in the 1st round, and it comes just weeks after he won his record 8th French Open title, losing to Steve Darcis of Belgium 7-6(4) 7-6(8) 6-4 in the first round of Wimbledon.

Is this loss by Nadal an even bigger upset than last year's 2nd round 5-set defeat by Lukas Rosol? Probably. In that match, the Spaniard was able to come back to win the 4th set and even though he was blown out in the 5th set, it was a much closer match than today's loss. Today, Nadal never looked comfortable on the grass today and he did well to keep the match as close as it was. He served for the second set at 6-5 (after breaking in the 10th game) and held a set point (on his opponent's serve) in the tiebreaker.

However after losing the second set tiebreaker Nadal was broken in the first set of the 3rd set and Darcis was able to eventually serve out the match, saving multiple breakpoints with excellent movement and a wicked slice backhand. The Belgian ended the match with 53 winners (to only 24 unforced errors), including 13 aces (even one on match point!). Nadal also had more winners than errors also. By the end, Nadal's movement was definitely compromised and was clearly impacted by his wonky left knee. Last year after the Rosol loss, Nadal did not play for the rest of the year.

Oh well, the Federer-Nadal quarter that people were looking forward to when the draw was first released is not going to happen now, and it means that the biggest match of the tournament will be the Andy Murray-Roger Federer semifinal (a reprise of last year's Wimbledon final won by Federer). Can we stop talking about whether Nadal or Federer is the best player of all time? Federer has never lost in early rounds of the clay court major while now Nadal has lost in the first and second rounds of the grass court major. In fact, this was Nadal's first 1st round loss in a major  tournament and Darcis at #135 is the lowest ranked opponent Rafa has lost to sincehe fell to Joach Johannson in 2006. Darcis is a good grass court player and last year upset 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych at the London Olympics. That win and the one against Nadal today are the only Top 10 wins  of his career so far.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin