Nadal crashes out
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:24
An error-strewn contest was kept close by the fact neither player could find their rhythm, with the world number one cutting a tetchy figure throughout the three-hour contest as he battled his inconsistency.
After dropping the first set, Nadal’s feted determination looked set to overcome his unusually high error count as he battled back to win the second set before claiming a double break in the decider to go 3-0 ahead.
But the Spaniard never looked comfortable on court and meekly dropped the next four games to rejuvenate Del Potro’s challenge.
The Argentinan, however, was not enjoying his best day on court either – ironic given he would record his first win against a top-four opponent – and nervously passed up three match-point opportunities at 6-5.
Nadal held to take the match to a deciding tie-breaker where he got his nose ahead at 3-2 with a mini-break.
But the Mallorcan again lost his way, although this time it was more to do with a couple of cracking cross-court backhands from Del Potro, who reeled off five straight points to clinch the match.
Perhaps fittingly, the Argentinan’s win was sealed when Nadal dumped a forehand into the net and send Del Potro through to the last four of a Masters Series event for the first time.