Posted: 4:15a.m. IST, June 29, 2012
London, June 29 (IANS) Little-known Czech Lukas Rosol pulled off one of the biggest upsets at Wimbledon by knocking out two-time champion Rafael Nadal over five sets in the second round.
The 26-year-old from Brno came back sensationally after losing the first set in a tight tie-break against the 11-times Grand Slam winner and packed him off 6-7 (11/9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 Thursday, clinching the decisive fifth set under the Centre Court roof.
A 45-minute delay instead of the scheduled half-an-hour to close the roof because of fading light before the fifth set saw the two players back in the locker room.
Nadal was unhappy at being asked to play under the roof. He was also upset with Rosol bouncing on the spot while preparing to serve in the third set and complained to the umpire.
While Rosol has now reached the third round of a major only a second time and playing in a grass court tournament just the second time.
It is the earliest that Nadal has been knocked out of a Grand Slam since his second-round defeat to Gilles Muller at Wimbledon seven years ago. This is also the first time he has ever lost to such a lowest-ranked player at a major, reports the Guardian.
An excited Rosol said his victory only proved that Nadal was human.
I don't know what to say. It's like a miracle for me, Rosol told a TV interviewer after the match.
I never could expect anything like this.
There are so many emotions. He is a superstar but I played unbelievable today. I hope I can play one more match like this.
I am happy and congratulations to Rafa. He played a good match but I was better, Rosol said.
Nadal's exit makes Briton Andy Murray's path easy. The World No. 4 lost to the Spaniard at the semi-final stage in each of the majors in the last two years.
Nadal looked off-colour and hardly looked the man who came here after winning the French Open a record seventh time two weeks ago.
Having broken serve in the fifth game, he immediately conceded his own in the next and had to stave off set point at 6-5 and also in a tie-break which he eventually won 11-9.
Rosol, whose third-round appearance at the French Open last year was his career best, quickly put the disappointment behind him to break at the start of the second set and then held out to take it, before stealing Nadal's serve in the third game of the next.
He tried to repair the damage by taking the fourth set with two service breaks and appeared to be regaining his touch.
But with Rosol back on song with ball in hand and fluently hitting winners at will, a break back was not forthcoming and the underdog eased home, landing three aces in the final game and collapsing to the ground in celebration.
Nadal, who had reached the final of every Wimbledon since 2005 apart from in 2009 when he was injured, was out-fought and out-played by the powerful Czech, who turned in the game of his life, showing nerves of steel to close out the victory with three aces in a row.
Nadal constantly complained to the umpire -- about the decision to draw the roof, about Rosol's insistence on taking all his serves quickly, and even about the Czech's stance, as the Spaniard felt his movement between points was distracting.
If he plays anything like he did against Nadal, Rosol should go far -- next up is experienced grass-court player Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.