Nadal suffers Shanghai shock
Originally published on: 14/10/10 17:44
Jurgen Melzer had not taken so much as a set off Rafael Nadal in three previous meetings, but shocked the world No.1 in Shanghai with a deserved 6-1 3-6 6-3 third round triumph.
Melzer came out firing and Nadal, who made an unusual amount of errors, was outdone by the power and accuracy of his Austrian opponent.
The Spaniard, who picked up the seventh title of a phenomenal season in Tokyo last week, had not lost a set 6-1 for almost a year.
Normal order was restored in the second set when Nadal upped his game and the world no.12 threw out a few more mistakes.
But determined not to let the opportunity slip away, Melzer broke in the sixth game after withstanding some early pressure in the decider, and held his nerve to close out the match.
“I think the key was to put a lot of pressure on him,” said Melzer. “You cannot let him play his game. You’ll always be second. So I tried to take the ball early. I was serving really well, especially on big moments. I executed my game plan, which was putting a lot of pressure, especially on his forehand.”
The win is the latest in a series of impressive performances this year from Melzer, who produced his best Grand Slam performance at Roland Garros, where he lost to the Spaniard in the last four.
However, the 29-year-old admitted to using such defeats to help him improve his game.
“To be honest, I learned from the last matches,” Melzer explained. “The first one at the Olympics was a blow out. Then I think I played a very good match [at Roland Garros] against him. Although I lost in three sets, I was very close in winning one.”
In the aftermath of his defeat, Nadal admitted to feeling less sprightly than usual.
“I felt slow on court,” conceded Nadal. “I had more mistakes than usual. I played shorter than usual. [I was] a little bit more tired than usual, just physically and mentally.
“I am very, very happy about what happened to me during all the year,” said Nadal. “Two tournaments [remain] for me. [I will] enjoy these ones and try to play better than today.”