MADRID: Pakistan’s top-seeded tennis player, Aisamul Haq Qureshi, along with his Mens doubles partner Jean-Julien Rojer, fought their way into the third round of the Madrid Open to set up a date with his former partner Rohan Bopanna.
Qureshi and Dutch Rojer battled against top-seeded pair of Mike and Bob Bryan (also known as the Bryan brothers). They got off to a bad start, losing the first set 4-6. However, they rallied back to take the second set 6-4.
They then battled through a marathon third set, where both teams were stretched as it ended 18-16 in favour of Qureshi-Rojer.
Earlier, Qureshi’s former partner, Rohan Bopanna and fellow compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi held off a late charge by Santiago Gonzalez and Christopher Kas in their second round match to book their places in the Madrid Open quarter-finals. They won their match 6-1, 7-6.
Nadal crashes out of Madrid Open
Rafael Nadal went down in frustration as the second seed lost his first match of the season on clay, with Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco triumphing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 on Thursday in the third round of the Madrid Masters.
“I never was in control of the match, I didn’t know how to win a point,” said Nadal, who threatened to be a notable absentee from the event next year unless the controversial blue clay surface, which he abhors, is modified.
Nadal’s perfect record on the dirt for 2012 was marred as Madrid native Verdasco clawed out the opening set to stun multiple Monte Carlo and Barcelona champion Nadal, who, though he dug out the second set, succumbed in the decider.
“Movement is very important for me and I couldn’t move.
“I couldn’t hit ball the way I wanted. I lost because I deserved to lose.”
Verdasco lost the second set as Nadal found his rhythm, but the 15th-seeded challenger rallied from 1-4 down in the third to work his upset miracle, winning his first match over the king of clay from 14 attempts.
The final set was littered with seven breaks of serve, with a nervous Nadal well off his game and expressing inward and outward frustration with the surface which has drawn his ire for weeks.
Verdasco applied the pressure in the final game to break Nadal and advance on his second match point, with the winner kissing the surface in gratitude.
“I couldn’t close out the match at 5-2. He played better than me,” said Nadal, by far the harshest critic of the experimental switch to blue clay.
“The ATP and the tournament can do what they want, I tried my best, I’ve trained here since Thursday. I was as prepared as I could be.
“I was not good enough to adapt my game to this court. If things continue like this, it will be very sad.
“Next year this will be one less event for my calendar.”
The devastated number two will need to regroup if he is to regain equilibrium, with next week’s Masters 1000 in Rome restoring some normality with a return to classic red clay and sea level altitude.
Nadal last won Madrid in 2010 over Roger Federer and had dominated Verdasco including the loss of just four games in a Barcelona semi-final victory two weeks ago.
The Mallorcan now stands 22-1 on clay since losing in the Rome final last year to Novak Djokovic.