Unknown Czech Rosol Shocks Nadal at Wimbledon

by John on June 29, 2012

World No. 100 Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the 135-year history of Wimbledon last night, stunning two-time champion Rafael Nadal 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in a second-round match. Rosol played fearless tennis, going for broke on almost every shot and holding nothing back. Nadal had made the finals in his last five appearances at Wimbledon and had reached the last four Grand Slam finals. Until two weeks ago, the 26-year-old Rosol had never won a tour-level grass-court match, and prior to this year had lost in the first round of the Wimbledon quallies five times in a row. “Today I was somewhere else and I’m really happy for this,” Rosol said. “Still, I cannot find the words. I still can’t believe it. It’s like a dream for me.” The surprising upset compares to George Bastl’s ouster of Pete Sampras in 2002, considered the standard-bearer of Wimbledon shockers. It was the earliest loss for Nadal at a major since 2005, when Gilles Muller knocked him out in the second round at SW19. The No. 2-ranked Spaniard knew he was in for a dog fight from the outset. Riding a booming serve and cracking a slew of winners, Rosol forced a first-set tiebreaker which Nadal barely won 11-9. Refusing to fold, Rosol won the next two sets after early breaks. A testy moment ensued in the third set when a clearly frustrated Nadal appeared to deliberately brush into Rosol on a changeover. Rafa righted course in the fourth set, breaking twice, and seemed primed to be on his way to a five-set win when Wimbledon officials made a decision to close the roof on Centre Court. Nightfall was approaching with only about 35 minutes of daylight left. After a 40-minute delay, the players returned to the court with Nadal to serve the first game of the fifth set. Rosol broke immediately to regain the momentum. Playing with steely resolve, Rosol dictated play the rest of the way, and at 5-4 served it out in spectacular fashion with three aces in the final game. The 6-foot-5 Czech hit 20 winners and committed just two unforced errors in the deciding set. Rosol had 22 aces and 65 winners in the match. “For sure, it wasn’t the best one for me,” Nadal said. “But that’s what it is. I accept that he came back and played unbelievable in the fifth [set]. I was playing well in the fourth. I think I played a great fourth set.”

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