MADRID: Rafael Nadal went down in frustration as the second seed lost his first match of the season on clay, with Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco triumphing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 on Thursday in the third round of the Madrid Masters.
It was entirely another story for top seed Novak Djokovic, who needed two match points to beat Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 and Roger Federer (below), who rolled over Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2.
With the exit of Nadal, Federer now has a chance to return to the ATP number two ranking if he can win the title, according to ATP calculations.”It was a surprising loss for Rafa,” said the Swiss. “But Verdasco is a quality player who should have maybe beaten Nadal in the past.”Down two breaks in a match on clay you don’t expect a guy to come back. But the tournament goes on without Rafa.”