Beijing: Rafael Nadal crashed out of the China Open yesterday, tiring at the end of a gruelling three-set quarter-final against qualifier Martin Klizan.
Rafael Nadal during a press conference after his loss
In only his third outing since returning from three months on the sidelines, 14-times Grand Slam winner Nadal managed just two points in the last four games of a match that he lost 6-7 (7/9) 6-4, 6-3.
The World No 3 won the first set at the tie break, and was 4-3 ahead in the second before Slovakia’s Klizan fought back and forced a decider. The second seed then appeared to be edging through to the semi-finals after breaking serve in the third set to make it 3-2 in his favour.
But Klizan, who is ranked 56th by the ATP, then tore into Nadal, taking nine consecutive points in quick succession and the final four games as he closed in on victory. Before Beijing, Nadal had not played competitively since he was dumped out at Wimbledon by 19-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios.
“It will not be easy after what happened,” Nadal said. “Always when you are outside for a few months, as I said the other day, is not the same as if you are coming back the next season that everybody starts from zero.”