Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nadal Woes Continue with First-Round Exit

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nadal Woes Continue with First-Round Exit

Article excerpt

RAFAEL Nadal was left mystified by his latest grand slam failure as he crashed out in the Australian Open first round with a five-set defeat to Fernando Verdasco.

After a disappointing 2015 in which he failed to reach a single major semi-final, Nadal was hoping to instigate a revival in Melbourne but instead endured another agonising exit.

The 14-time major champion led by two sets to one and then 2-0 in the decider in Rod Laver Arena but Verdasco clinched the last six games in a row to win an epic battle 7-6 (8/6) 4-6 3-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-2. It is the first time Nadal has lost in the Australian Open first round and means he has now failed to reach the second week of three consecutive major tournaments.

"He played better than me. He played more aggressive than me. He took more risks than me, and he won. Probably he deserved," Nadal said.

"But at the same time, I know I did everything that I can to be ready for it. Was not my day. Let's keep going. That's the only thing. …

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