Wimbledon 2013: Five reasons why Nadal lost his first round clash to Darcis
Rafael Nadal‘s shock exit in Round 1 of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships will go down as one of the greatest upsets ever. Nadal, seeded 5th at the tournament went down in straight sets to an inspired Belgian in Steve Darcis, who is ranked 135 in the world.
A couple of stats regarding the two players made the result all the more hard to believe; Rafa had previously never lost in the 1st round of a Grand Slam event while Darcis had never beaten a top five player in his ten year long professional career.
A lot has been made out about the condition of Nadal’s knee and the adverse effect it had on his match in the opening round. However, here are five reasons why the knee was a non-issue in the end result.
1. Darcis’ high level of play
The opening two sets went to a tie-break in which Darcis eventually prevailed. Nadal, for the most part, in those opening sets looked to be moving around comfortably and had his chances in both sets. In each set, Rafa managed to break the Belgian’s serve once, but Darcis was coming up big on the crucial points and played really well to take those sets into a tie-break.
In set one, Nadal had four break point opportunities, converting one and was one of two in the second set. Part of the reason for that was Darcis, who served 11 of his 13 aces in the first two sets. He also won a high percentage of points behind his first serve (73%) often coming into the net and upsetting Nadal’s rhythm.
Darcis is a good grass court player and he used his skills to good effect coming to the net 46 times and winning 70% of the points when he did. Nadal even had set points in the second set during the tie-break, which were saved effectively by his opponent.It was only in the third set that Nadal’s movement appeared limited and there was the visible lack of lift-off that he was getting on his serve. Even in that third set, it was just the single break of serve that separated the two players; Darcis in fact converted the only break point he earned through the set.