Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, has been knocked out of the Australian Open in the first round for the first time in his career.
The Australia Open this term has been filled with upsets galore and Nadal was the latest victim as he succumbed to his compatriot, Fernando Verdasco, after a gruelling four hour 41 minute battle on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne On Tuesday.
Verdasco won the thriller 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, to hand Nadal only his second ever first-round defeat at a major tournament.
This win will serve as a deserved revenge for Verdasco who in the semi finals of the 2009 edition lost to Nadal in another gruelling contest.
After Nadal got early break in the fifth set of Tuesday’s game, Verdasco reeled off six straight games to win the decider and upset his Spanish rival in the opening round.
Verdasco hit 90 winners to Nadal’s 37 of the match.
He also hit 91 unforced errors to Nadal’s 38 and had 182 total points, while Nadal had 180.
The loss was only Nadal’s second first round Grand Slam loss of his career (Wimbledon 2013).