Nadal suffers Montreal meltdown, Djokovic wins

MONTREAL,  (Reuters) – Rafa Nadal fluffed his lines on  the return from five-week break when the Spanish world number  two was stunned 1-6 7-6 7-6 by unheralded Croatian Ivan Dodig in  his opening match of the Montreal Masters on Wednesday.

Back in action for the first time since losing to Novak  Djokovic in the Wimbledon final on July 3, Nadal had looked  poised for a routine comeback victory after storming through the  opening set of the second round encounter. However, the 41st ranked Croatian had other ideas and would  not be bullied by the muscular Mallorcan, matching Nadal  shot-for-shot before ending the three-hour thriller with a  backhand cross-court winner.       Despite an inconsistent performance, Nadal had his chances  to seal the contest when he led 5-3 in the deciding set and  served for the match, but the two-time champion on Canadian hard  courts was unable to put away his stubborn opponent.

It was Nadal’s first opening match defeat in a tournament  since Rome 2008. The loss will be a blow to Nadal’s Flushing Meadows  preparation, where the Spaniard will launch the defence his U.S.  Open crown later this month.


“I don’t feel I played bad but in the decisive moments I  didn’t play well,” Nadal told reporters.
“He didn’t feel the pressure in the important moments and at  the end of the match, probably I was a little bit unlucky.
“I felt like I played well enough to win but that’s tennis.”

The late night shock, provided an unexpected twist to the  end of a day that had gone largely according to script, with 10  of the 13 seeds in action enjoying a safe passage into the third  round.

Djokovic’s reign as world number one got off to a sluggish  start as the Serb scrambled to a 7-5 6-1 win over Russian  Nikolay Davydenko, while Roger Federer entered his 30s with a  clinical 7-5 6-3 victory over Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

In near invincible form this season on his way to eight  titles while compiling a 49-1 record, Djokovic looked vulnerable  after his extended holiday as Davydenko claimed two early breaks  to race to a 4-1 lead.

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