THE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013
Devastating Darcis Stuns Nadal; Hewitt Ousts Wawrinka
by ATP Staff|
Rafael Nadal was sensationally beaten at The Championships on Monday.
Steve Darcis, currently No. 135 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, won 7-6(4), 7-6(8), 6-4 on No. 1 Court to condemn the fifth seed to his first loss in the first round of a Grand Slam championship.
Darcis, who had never before beaten a Top 5 player, finished the match with his 13th ace. He converted three of his 11 break point opportunities for victory in two hours and 55 minutes.
“Sometimes you play well and you have the chance to win,” said Nadal, who arrived in London six days ago. “Sometimes you play worse and your opponent plays well and you lose. I just want to congratulate Darcis. I think he played a fantastic match. At the end [of the day it] is not a tragedy. That is sport.”
“Two weeks ago I was in a fantastic situation, winning a fantastic tournament [at Roland Garros]. Two weeks later, I lost here in the first round. That's the positive and the negative thing about this sport. It is tough losing in the first round.”
Nadal lost his serve in the 11th game but broke back immediately to force a tie-break in the first set. Nadal looked like he might fight back from a 3-6 deficit in the tie-break, but Darcis converted his second set point chance with a forehand volley.
Nadal broke serve for a 6-5 lead in the second set, but this time Darcis recovered to reach a tie-break. Darcis moved into a 6-3 lead, but Nadal won three straight points. Nadal saved his fourth set point at 6-7, but then squandered an 8-7 advantage when he sliced a backhand into the net.
Darcis opened up a 2-0 lead in the third set. Nadal could have broken back in the eighth game, but struck a backhand into the net and Darcis went on to coolly seal the biggest win of his career.
Darcis is the lowest-ranked player to defeat Nadal at any event since World No. 690 Joachim Johansson at the 2006 If Stockholm Open. Gustavo Kuerten was the last reigning Roland Garros champion to lose in the first round of Wimbledon in 1997.
Coming into The Championships, Darcis lost in the Topshelf Open qualifying round (l. to Bohli). The former World No. 44 had lost in the first round in 12 of his 18 previous major championship appearances.
Nadal, who had reached nine finals in nine tournaments since returning from a knee injury in February, was on a 22-match winning streak. He dropped to a 43-3 match record on the season. Last year, Nadal lost to Lukas Rosol in the Wimbledon second round.
Former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt also took down a seeded opponent, defeating No. 11 seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. Hewitt, the 2002 champion (d. Nalbandian), played a clean match, hitting 32 winners to 11 unforced errors. He broke Wawrinka six times to win the encounter in two hours and 12 minutes to beat the Swiss for the first time since 2007 in Cincinnati.
Hewitt is coming off a semi-final showing at the Aegon Championships (l. to Cilic). In the second round, the Australian will play qualifier Dustin Brown. The German beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.