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Verdasco Stuns Nadal In Third Round; 'The Dog' Trips Up Tsonga

Madrid, Spain

Verdasco© AFP/Getty ImagesFernando Verdasco celebrates his victory over Rafael Nadal.

Fernando Verdasco, the No. 15 seed, broke a 13-match losing streak against his Spanish compatriot, Rafael Nadal, the second seed and 2005, 2010 champion on Thursday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Verdasco recorded his first victory over Nadal with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win in three hours and 11 minutes. Nadal led 5-2 in the deciding set and twice served for the match. Nadal recovered from 0/30 at 5-6 and saved one match point at 30/40 with an ace down the middle, but Verdasco converted his second match point opportunity with a powerful forehand winner.

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It brought to an end Nadal's 22-match winning streak on clay dating back to the 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome (l. to Djokovic in the final). Verdasco hit nine double faults, but saved nine of 15 break points.

In their 13 previous meetings, Nadal had won 29 sets to just four sets in Verdasco's favour. The 25-year-old Nadal is now 48-2 lifetime against his compatriots on clay since 2005, with his first loss coming to former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero at 2008 Rome (second round). He is 215-9 on clay in seven years.

"I knew I was in control of the match [at 5-2 in the third set]," said Nadal. "I lost because I deserved to lose today, even if I was winning 5-2. When the moment came to close [out] the match I didn't know how to do it. I made a big mistake with a smash at 5-2 and 15/0, but that is just anecdotal. That's what happened, he played better than me and he beat me."

Verdasco is now 16-60 against Top 10 opponents. In 2012, the Madrid native has an 18-6 match record, which includes a runner-up finish to David Ferrer at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

He next faces sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, who won 28 of his 32 service points to beat No. 12 seed Gael Monfils of France 6-1, 6-1 in just 50 minutes. It was a repeat of February's Open Sud de France final in Montpellier. Berdych is now 24-6 on the season.

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DolgopolovAlexandr Dolgopolov, the No. 16 seed from Ukraine, recorded his second Top 5 win by beating fourth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(2) in two hours and 19 minutes.

Dolgopolov is through to his second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season, following a runner-up finish to Andy Murray at the Brisbane International in January. Tsonga has now fallen in the Madrid third round on three occasions (also 2008, '11).

Dolgopolov goes onto face 10th seed Juan Martin del Potro, who improved to 9-0 on clay this year after he beat BMW Open finalist Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes. It was the pair's third meeting this year, after del Potro wins at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and Davis Cup quarter-finals.

Del Potro, who lifted his 11th ATP World Tour title at the Estoril Open (d. Gasquet) on Sunday, has a 30-6 season record after he hit six aces and won 72 per cent of his service points. The Argentine reached the 2009 Madrid semi-finals (l to Federer).

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