Nadal makes unexpected exit
WIMBLEDON:LUKAS ROSOL caused a sensation late last night at Wimbledon when he dumped the world number two Rafael Nadal out of the tournament in a thrilling five set tussle.
He won 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in a contest that proved a real treat for those spectators who stayed around until just after 10pm last night. About 5,000 spectators were present to witness the start of the match but there were double that number it situ by the finish.
The 26-year-old Czech player’s best result this year was a quarter-final appearance in Belgrade but he trumped that with a stunning display at the All England club. The six foot, five inch Rosol never deviated from his free swinging approach that characterised his play throughout the match, opening his shoulders and hammering his groundstrokes with tremendous velocity.
Despite losing the first set on the tie-break 7-6 (9-11), he never changed his approach and proceeded to bludgeon his way past his rival in the next two sets, 6-4, 6-4.
Nadal is known for the speed of his court coverage but there were times when he looked on, bemused, as his opponent ripped the ball past him.
The Spaniard’s courage though is well documented and he responded in the fourth set, dominating Rosol, whose range deserted him a little as he forfeited too many cheap points.
The world number two levelled the match at two sets apiece, winning it 6-2 and the odds at this point, like the momentum, suggested he would go on and close out the match.
However, with possibly a maximum of 40 minutes daylight left, a decision was taken by Andrew Jarrett to close the roof on Centre court.
The mechanism of moving the roof doesn't take that long but there are air conditioning issues in relation to the grass surface that means a longer delay.
Nadal was understandably unhappy and voiced his displeasure, but the players returned 39 minutes later, conducting a brief knock-up before resuming.
Rosol struck the definitive blow in the opening game, breaking his opponent’s serve with a series of excoriating groundstrokes.
With the exception of the fourth set, the Czech’s serve had been a potent weapon and it did not fail him. At 5-4 ahead, he served for the match and did so with impressive authority and composure.
The handshake was perfunctory at the end, possibly attributable to a collision at one point when the players were changing ends and also that Nadal had expressed his displeasure at the way Rosol moved around when he was preparing to serve.
Nadal said afterwards: “First three sets I didn’t play well. It wasn’t the best decision for me to close the roof but I have to accept it and he came back to play unbelievable in the fifth.
“He is able to hit the ball very hard without feeling the pressure so everything was going right for him in the fifth. I am very, very disappointed.”
Rosol was gracious in victory when remarking: “I am not just surprised, it’s like a miracle to me,” the Czech, who had 22 aces, including three in the final game, said after his victory. “I never expected to play like this.”
Gilles Muller (66) was the lowest ranked play to beat Nadal at a Grand Slam but the Czech has now taken that mantle.
Prior to this match Rosol had never lost a five-set match in a Slam, a record he proudly maintained in the most celebrated of circumstances last night.
Nadal’s defeat will be seen as a massive fillip for Andy Murray, who was due to meet the Spaniard in the semi-final, but after last night’s performance, no one will be able to say . . . Lukas who?