World No. 1 Nadal beaten by Melzer in Shanghai | Tennis Updates
Rafael Nadal failed to reach a quarterfinal for the first time this year after a shock defeat by Jurgen Melzer in the third round of the Shanghai Masters on Thursday.
The No. 1-ranked Nadal had never dropped a set to the Austrian in three previous meetings but went down 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. The Spaniard had most recently beaten Melzer in the semifinals of the French Open this year on his way to the title.
Nadal won the U.S. Open in September to become the seventh man in history to win all four Grand Slam tournaments and was bidding for his eighth title of the season in Shanghai.
He won the Japan Open title on Sunday before traveling to Shanghai and said his busy schedule contributed to the loss.
“This isn’t a surprise for me. I didn’t play well, “said Nadal. “I felt slow on court and I made more mistakes than usual. In general, I am a little bit more tired than usual, physically and mentally.
“You can’t expect to win every week. All the good work is done for me for the year.”
Melzer played aggressively from the start, hitting booming forehand winners and attacking Nadal’s second serve to break the Spaniard twice and capture the opening set in 40 minutes.
“I felt he was uncomfortable after a few games,” Melzer said. “When the ball was in play, he sometimes missed and his backhand was just dying in the net. I felt if I kept playing like that and not give him too much rhythm, I’d have my chance.”
Nadal stormed back in the second set, getting his first—and only—break of the match with a running backhand down the line that the Austrian dumped into the net.
The two players held serve in the deciding set until the fifth game when Nadal badly shanked a forehand long and hit another one wide to give Melzer his third break of the match. The Spaniard saved three match points on his serve, but Melzer easily put the match away on his next serve.
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