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Rediff.com  » Sports » Nadal crashes out to Dolgopolov at Queen's

Nadal crashes out to Dolgopolov at Queen's

Last updated on: June 17, 2015 12:26 IST

Alexandr Dolgopolov (left) of Ukraine shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after their men's singles first round match at the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Just when it seemed safe for Rafael Nadal devotees to peer up from behind the sofa the Spaniard suffered another horror show at the hands of Ukrainian spin wizard Alexandr Dolgopolov at Queen's Club on Tuesday.

Former World No 1 Nadal looked rejuvenated last week when he won the Stuttgart grasscourt title having endured a title-less run on his beloved European claycourts and arrived at the Aegon Championships with a spring in his step.

But the form the 14-times Grand Slam champion displayed in Stuttgart was only fleetingly in evidence as he went down 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-4 to a player ranked 79th in the world.

Despite a dispiriting loss in front of Spain's former king Juan Carlos, who was sat in the front row, the 29-year-old tried to remain positive with Wimbledon a little under two weeks away.

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his first round match

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his first round match. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

 "This week I lost an opportunity, but I am playing better than before, and enjoying more on court than before," he told reporters.

"Today I lost. I accept. I keep going. I'm going to practise hard. I hope to be ready to play well in Wimbledon."

Fifth seed Nadal, who won the Queen's title in 2008, but has stayed away in recent years because of gripes with the British tax system, saved two points that would have seen him trail 4-0 but he could not claw back the opening set.

The Mallorcan survived a match point in the second set tiebreak with a swinging serve and levelled it when Dolgopolov missed an attempted pass, celebrating with a trademark upper-cut.

Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov plays a return against Rafael Nadal

Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov plays a return against Rafael Nadal. Photograph: Tony O'Brien/Action Images via Reuters

 

Dolgopolov boasts a richer variety of spin than an election campaign manager and a curious backhand sidewinder that can bamboozle opponents but he paid for being too clever with an attempted drop shot and surrendered serve at 1-1 in the decider.

 

Nadal looked in control but he loosened his grip at 4-3 and Dolgoplov levelled with an angled volley.

 

Even then Nadal has an immediate chance to break again, but missed a bread and butter forehand with the court begging.

 

Dolgopolov then pounced, belting a backhand return winner and then threading a forehand down the line to seal a second consecutive victory against Nadal.

 

Wawrinka races to victory over Kyrgios

Stanislas Wawrinka (right) of Switzerland shakes hands with Nick Kyrgios of Australia after his victory in their men's singles first round match at Queen's Club. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Stanislas Wawrinka took only 49 minutes to beat Australian Nick Kyrgios as he continued to bask in the glow of his French Open triumph.

The Swiss, who stunned Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier this month to claim a second grand slam title, picked up where he left off in Paris with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on the sun-drenched west London grasscourts.

It had looked like a tough assignment for second seed Wawrinka against the man who rocked Wimbledon last year by beating Nadal and reaching the quarter-final on his debut.

His free-swinging game can take time to adjust to the slick grass, but he served superbly throughout and produced a few trademark backhands to delight a large crowd.

"I'm feeling quite good, for sure. Still need more time on the grass, more adjustment, especially for moving, but today it was a great match," Wawrinka, 30, told reporters.

Wawrinka will face big-serving South African Kevin Anderson on Wednesday.

Murray advances

Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates a point in his men's singles first round match against Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei

Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates a point in his first round match against Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Top seed and home favourite Andy Murray got in the Wimbledon spirit by donning a pristine all-white kit in a 6-4, 7-5 defeat of Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun, a player he beat on the way to winning the title at the All England Club in 2013.

Also on the menu at the select west London club was defending champion Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria who completed a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over American Sam Querrey, the 2010 winner, after bad light stopped their match the day before.

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