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AEGON Champs: Lopez sends Rafa packing

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Originally published on: 11/06/10 18:15

The shocks just keep on coming at Queens. Five of the world’s top 10 started the AEGON Championships, yet remarkably, not a single one of the five will feature in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Feliciano Lopez was the man who ensured that would be the case, defeating world No.1 and fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal 7-6(5) 6-4 in an hour and 52 minutes.

“He played well,” said the French Open champ after seeing his 24-match winning streak end in abrupt fashion at the hands of the eighth seed. “I think his serve was very good and from the baseline he has a very good slice. I just congratulate him. I think he’s playing well and I wish him best of luck to win the tournament.”

It was Nadal’s first defeat since his loss to Andy Roddick in the semi-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open back in March, but with hopes of a repeat of his 2008 Wimbledon title in mind, Nadal plans to get some more time on grass before the Championships begin on June 21.

“I think I’m going to have a few days next week at Wimbledon to practice,” said Nadal. I [have] played a lot of matches the last few months. My feeling was not bad today, so that’s positive. Next week in Wimbledon I [am] going to have more time to practice and adjust my serve, backhand and movements on the grass.”

After knocking out his Davis Cup team mate, Lopez will next play 90th-ranked American Mardy Fish, who beat both Andy Murray and Michael Llodra today to set up the semi-final clash.

The 28-year-old admitted he was far happier at the prospect of facing Lopez than the world No.1 in the last four.

“I played Feliciano last year here and played really well and beat him in Miami, too,” he said. “I’ve won the last couple [of] times we played. I like the spot that I’m in. It’s not Nadal, so that’s good for me, I guess.”

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