Lukas Rosol Bids Rafa Nadal Adios

| June 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

Stunning, improbable, shocking, incredible and impossible were the words surrounding center court at Wimbledon in Thursday’s last match of the day. Second seed Rafa Nadal, the man in pursuit of top seeded and top ranked Novak Djokovic, succumbed to a blistering service attack from the tour’s 100th ranked player, Czech Lukas Rosol.

Just two weeks ago, Nadal registered his remarkable seventh French Open title. Today, the man with 582 career wins, 41 wins this season and 50 career championships fell prey to a man who failed in his five previous attempts to qualify for the world’s biggest stage.  With a career singles record of 18 wins and 32 losses and an 11- 13 record in 2012, Rosol was a sure bet to be obliterated by the surging Spaniard.  But, once again we learn why they tie on the sneakers, why it ain’t over til the fat lady sings and why you never know.

Lukas Rosol

Lukas Rosol ousted Rafael Nadal

As he did in his first round match, Nadal started slowly, then he caught up and overtook the powerful but awkward Rosol.  After winning the tiebreaker, it was assumed the challenger would fold, that Nadal would take command and finis, match ended.  Instead, Korol broke in Nadal’s first service game of the second set an made it stand with a dazzling array of serving, volleying and eerie calm amidst an arena of chaos.

With each of his 22 aces and impressive 65 outright winners, the Czech grew visibly more confident.  The Spaniard could not control the pace, contain the swell of fan support or halt the spirited surge by his relatively unknown opponent.  This win was for all the struggling wannabees, should-bees or could-bees that had the talent but not the moxie to hang tough with top ten players.  Hey, Lukas Rosol delivered an inspiring message to the hordes of challengers, it is game on and everyone is fair game.

Rosol capitalized on one break in the third set and took a two set to one lead as the crowd braced for a Nadal rally.  And. Like the professional that he is, Nadal stormed to two breaks and seized the momentum in the fourth set. Surely this would be the end. But, as fate would have it, the players were interrupted for about 40 minutes as the dome over court one was unveiled.

When they returned to the court, Korol captured a first game break in the fifth set.  Nadal could not convert on his only break point of the fifth set and Korol served out the final game to record the biggest win of his eight-year career, 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Korol prefers to hit two-handed backhands from either side but occasionally laced a piercing forehand either across the court or down the line.  Nadal kept his cool, but could not get a grip on the multiple deliveries that came firing back.

Thursday’s win marked the first time the Czech, who began playing on the Davis Cup team in 2011, recorded consecutive wins in a tour tournament.  Not only is this the first time that Rosol has qualified for the main draw, but it is the first time he has reached the third round in any Grand Slam. Amazing, amazing, amazing. This will be his biggest purse and most memorable outing.

Lukas will next face 27th seed and a player that has had a measure of success against Nadal, Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber .  Another upset would make the 6’5” underdog a fan favorite and real-life Horatio Alger.

The loss for Nadal ensure that third-ranked Roger Federer of jumping ahead of the Spaniard into the second slot. This result throws the bottom half of the second page into a free-for all with Jo Will Tsonga now favored to move to the semis. But, this day belongs to a very dark horse who held his ground and played his game.  Kudos!

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