Nadal stunned at Madrid Open

Rafael Nadalreacts during his match against Fernando Verdasco at the Madrid Open in Madrid, Spain,...

Rafael Nadalreacts during his match against Fernando Verdasco at the Madrid Open in Madrid, Spain, May 10, 2012. (JUAN MEDINA/Reuters)

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 9:11 PM ET

MADRID - Fernando Verdasco stunned Rafael Nadal in an all-Spanish third-round affair, while reigning champion Novak Djokovic and former champ Roger Federer were a pair of straight-set victors Thursday at the $4 million Madrid Open, an ATP World Tour 1000 Masters event.

The 15th-seeded Verdasco trailed the second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal 2-5 in the third set before charging back for a shocking 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 upset on the unusual blue clay at Madrid's Magic Box. Nadal was riding an 11-match winning streak and fresh off back-to-back clay-court titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

Verdasco, who lost to Nadal in a semifinal in Barcelona just two weeks ago, topped Nadal in 3 hours, 10 minutes despite piling up nine double faults. The match featured 13 breaks of serve, including seven by the surprise winner.

The 28-year-old Verdasco had been 0-13 lifetime against his fellow lefthander.

The two-time Madrid champion Nadal was last year's runner-up here to Djokovic. The super Spaniard was also a Madrid runner-up back in 2009.

Nadal holds the record with 20 Masters titles, including the one in Monte Carlo last month.

The 25-year-old star has lost only two matches against fellow Spaniards on clay during his brilliant career.

The world No. 1 and reigning Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic handled Swiss Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in 1 hour, 45 minutes, while the third-seeded Federer blitzed 14th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2 in a mere 58 minutes. The sublime Swiss icon swatted 10 aces and was not broken on Day 5.

Djokovic's quarterfinal opponent will be his seventh-seeded fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic, who snuck past ninth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-1.

The two-time Madrid champion and two-time runner-up Federer is playing his first clay-court tennis of the year this week. The 30-year-old all-time great would overtake Nadal for the world No. 2 ranking with a title this weekend.

Federer's quarterfinal opponent will be dangerous fifth seed David Ferrer, who went the distance to outlast 11th-seeded fellow Spanish clay-court stalwart Nicolas Almagro, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (10-8). Ferrer needed 2 hours, 53 minutes to stave off Almagro, as both players smacked 13 aces in an entertaining outing.

Ferrer was the recent Barcelona runner-up to Nadal.

Federer is 12-0 lifetime against Ferrer, including a semifinal win here in Madrid two years ago.

Another Thursday upset came when 16th-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov outlasted fourth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).

Meanwhile, sixth-seeded Czech slugger Tomas Berdych embarrassed oft-injured 12th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils in 50 minutes, 6-1, 6-1, and hot 10th- seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro handled Croat Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-4. Del Potro is fresh off his clay-court title in Estoril last week and will meet Dolgopolov on Friday. Berdych will battle Verdasco in the round of eight.

The 2012 Madrid titlist will earn $770,000.


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