Garcia-Lopez Shocks Nadal at Bangkok

by John on October 2, 2010

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez saved an astounding 24 of 26 break points to record the biggest win of his career earlier today in Bangkok, stunning No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 in the semifinals of the PTT Thailand Open. Nadal’s fellow Spaniard advanced to his second ATP Tour final of the season, after finishing runner-up to Michael Llodra on grass at Eastbourne in June. The 27-year-old Garcia-Lopez won his only tour title last year in his first final, defeating Julien Benneteau on clay at Kitzbuhel. “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 the second set was the key. I felt much better after that and I was playing great at the end. Everything went perfectly.” Garcia-Lopez, ranked No. 53 in the world, faced a daunting task against Nadal, who was on a nine-match winning streak after completing his career Grand Slam at the US Open last month. The 24-year-old Nadal appeared to be cruising to his eighth final of the season when he broke serve twice to take the opening set. Tenacity paid off for Garcia-Lopez in the second set, though, as he saved 16 break points to force a tiebreaker, which he quickly took command of and won 7-3. The Albacete native then converted his only break point opportunity of the match in the fourth game of the third set and held his composure to close out the victory in two hours and 45 minutes. “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.” Garcia-Lopez faces Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in tomorrow’s championship match. Nieminen looks to improve on his 1-8 career record in ATP Tour finals.

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