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Nadal shocked by Dodig in Montreal

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Originally published on: 11/08/11 10:25

Rafael Nadal followed Andy Murray out of the Rogers Cup yesterday after falling to a shock 1-6 7-6(5) 7-6(5) defeat to Ivan Dodig in a three-hour-nine-minute epic.

The world No.2 led 6-1 3-1, but the 26-year-old Croat dug his heels in and rallied hard to condemn Nadal to his earliest exit at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event since he fell to Juan Carlos Ferrero in Rome in 2008.

“Tennis is like this,” reasoned Nadal after his shock exit. “You are winning without many problems, you have one mistake, and after the opponent starts to serve very well, playing very aggressive.”

Dodig, who progresses through to a third round clash with Janko Tipsarevic, was delighted with the aggressive approach he displayed against the 10-time Grand Slam champion. “I kept fighting [in the] second set even when I was down 3-1,” he said.

“I think I relaxed more and my serve started to work. Especially after I broke him first time, I was getting more points with my serve.”

The Zagreb resident fired his 19th ace to bring up match point, before finishing off the match in the hard-hitting fashion that sparked his comeback. “On match point, I make a winner. I think that was the key of this match,” said Dodig. “I know it’s very tough when you play these guys to be aggressive. Sometimes they don’t allow you [to be]. But today I had some chances and I think I used them. I finished the match by myself. I didn’t wait for his mistakes.”

With Murray and Nadal out, the other half of the big four prevailed without incident in Montreal, Novak Djokovic surviving early resistance from Nikolay Davydenko to reach round three and Roger Federer setting up a chance for revenge against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the Frenchman’s five-set quarter-final triumph at Wimbledon.

The upsets continued at the women’s event though, with Caroline Wozniacki slipping on the banana skin of world No.22 Roberta Vinici. The top-ranked Dane sent down seven double faults and admitted her struggle to deal with blustery conditions in Toronto.

“It is not fun to lose this, but there’s nothing really I can do about it now, just practise, and try to do better,” she said.

“It was very difficult at first with the wind. Especially when you threw it up. It was going everywhere, so definitely that didn’t make it easy.”

Serena Williams, meanwhile, had no such problems and continued her recent charge, making the third round with a 6-1 7-6(5) win over Julia Goerges.

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