Lukas Rosol bt Rafael Nadal 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4

Chris Quinn Reports

After a brief delay to allow for the roof to be closed on Centre Court and for the air conditioning to be regulated, I like many others witnessed one of the greatest shocks in the history of the All England Championships as unheralded Czech Lukas Rosol outhit second seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal in what will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest grass court matches of all time.

It is fair to say that it would have taken incredible foresight for one to have predicted Rosol’s unlikely victory, given Nadal’s prohibitively short price pre-match and there were very early indications that the 2008 and 2010 champion was in for a tough time against the world number 100. Nadal needed a 20-point tie-break to overcome Rosol in the first set before Rosol, who would’ve been forgiven for thinking his chance had come and gone following some set points in that very tie-break, stormed back to take a two sets to one lead. Nadal did everything you’d expect from a player of his calibre by taking the match to a fifth and deciding set but Rosol would not be deterred. Upon the resumption of play (once the roof had been closed), Rosol continued with his brutal ground strokes and grabbed the early break. Perhaps the most remarkable thing was Rosol’s apparent inability to demonstrate any sort of nervous tension when up a break of serve in that final set.

In all truth, Nadal looked anything but comfortable during the entire match. Admittedly Rosol’s hitting was nothing short of monstrous. However, Rafa just could not find any sort of rhythm or consistency with his shots, something untypically Nadal-like. Ever the gentleman, Nadal took nothing away from Rosol who had been defeated in the first round of qualifying for the last five years.

Nadal’s defeat will have some serious repercussions on that particular section of the draw. If Andy Murray can somehow negotiate some tricky looking matches against the likes of Marcos Baghdatis, Milos Raonic, and Juan Martin Del Potro, you have to think this is Murray’s greatest chance to become the first British finalist at Wimbledon since 1938. In my humble opinion, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will have the biggest say on this.

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