Friday, April 25, 2014
Following last week's stunning straight sets loss to David Ferrer in the quarterfinals of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters tournament Rafael Nadal has had an even more shocking loss, this time to Nico Almagro in the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open after winning the first set and blowing a 3-1 lead in the 3rd to lose for the first time to his countryman. Nadal has only lost 13 clay court matches in total since 2005, so it is remarkable that two of those losses have come in the last two weeks, a month before he tries to win his 9th record French Open in Paris. Almagro was 0-10 lifetime against Nadal and will certainly cherish this 2-6 7-6(5) 6-4 win, especially on Spanish soil. Nadal had won the Barcelona tournament a ridiculous eight times (41-match winning streak). In fact, Nadal had last lost a set in Barcelona in 2008 (to Ferrer).
This makes the upcoming French Open look very interesting indeed. Can Nadal really defend his title again? Or could Stanislas Wawrinka win his second consecutive major of the year, or will Djokovic finally get to complete his career slam?