Verdasco Stuns Nadal With Incredible DisplayThe first two days of the Australian Open are complete with Day 3 action set to begin soon. (Australia is 19 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.) So far the biggest upset of the tournament has been the shocking departure of 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal at the hands of Fernando Verdasco, another Spanish left-hander. Nadal and Verdasco played one of the best matches at the Australian Open in the 2009 semifinals (It lasted well over 5 hours and was won by Nadal in the fifth set on a double fault by Verdasco).
This time the met in the first round (which I noted earlier was an intriguing first-round match up). After losing to Nadal over a dozen times in a row in his career, Verdasco turned things around last year and beat his countryman twice in 2015. In their 2016 1st round meeting Verdasco came back from 0-2, 30-40 in the 5th set to reel off 6 consecutive games and hand Nadal only his second ever first round loss in a major tournament (the other was in 2013 at Wimbledon to Steve Darcis). Verdasco hit an astonishing 90 winners over 5 sets (to Nadal's 37) and in the fifth set he hit 21 winners to 12 unforced errors. The 32-year-old Spaniard was repeatedly able to hit forehand winners clocked at well over 100 miles per hour.
Multiple Major Upsets In Women's Draw
Simona Halep, the #2 seed (who I picked to get to the final!), lost in the very first round to unheralded Zhang Shuai (ranked #133). Also losing in the first round were #8 seed Venus Williams
(who lost to Sydney-born British player Johanna Konta) and #16 Caroline Wozniacki (who has been doing progressively worse at the Australian Open as her career progresses) lost a tough 3-set marathon to Yulia Putintseva.
Other milder upsets were the early exits of 10 of the 16 seeds from #17 to #32, including well-known names like Sara Errani, Andrea Petkovic, Samantha Stosur, Sloane Stephens and Caroline Garcia.