Bangkok, Thailand - No. 1 superstar Rafael Nadal was upset by fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in Saturday's semifinals at the Thailand Open.
Nadal, the reigning U.S. Open, Wimbledon and French Open champion, couldn't overcome the 10 aces from the 53rd-ranked Garcia-Lopez, who incredibly saved 24 of 26 break points.
"I have never beaten a No. 1 player in the world before. I've beaten some good top 10 players, but never a No. 1," Garcia-Lopez said. "I think it was the best match of my career. I think the tie-break in second set was the key. I felt much better after that and I was playing great at the end. Everything went perfectly."
It was a shocking result considering Garcia-Lopez advanced to his first career final on a hard court surface, and he was 5-20 lifetime against top-10 opponents prior to Saturday's encounter. However, the 27-year-old has piled up 42 aces thus far at this week's tournament.
Garcia-Lopez is into his third career ATP Tour final (1-1). In June, he was the runner-up in Eastbourne on grass, losing to Frenchman Michael Llodra. His lone title came in Kitzbuhel last year.
Nadal, who lost for just the eighth time (61-8) this year and was denied a chance at winning his seventh title, wrapped the No. 1 ranking for the season and second time in three years after capturing the U.S. Open.
"I had a lot of break point chances in the second set, too many chances," Nadal said. "He played a great match especially in the third set, but I was playing better than him in the beginning. I didn't play the break points well. With 26 opportunities to break you have to take your chances. It's a difficult loss to accept. I was playing well and had a good opportunity to get to final."
Facing Garcia-Lopez in the final will be unseeded Jarkko Nieminen of Finland. He defeated Germany's Benjamin Becker, 6-3, 6-2. Nieminen, who has yet to drop a set this week, advanced to his 10th career ATP Tour final (1-8), his first since January 2009 in Sydney. His lone title came in Auckland in 2006.
Sunday's final will be the second all-time meeting between Garcia-Lopez and Nieminen. The Finn captured a 7-5, 6-4 win during a tournament in Beijing in 2004.
The winner of this $608,500 tournament will claim $99,725.