Nadal Knocked Out in Montreal, Federer v. Tsonga Tonight; Wozniacki Upset in Toronto
by Sean Randall | August 11th, 2011, 9:31 am

The upset theme continued Wednesday in Canada as we saw Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki both knocked out of tournament competition.

The big surprise was Nadal who had not lost in a tournament opener in over three years (2008 Rome) going down in a third set tiebreak thriller to Ivan Dodig 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(5).

Nadal led the scrappy yet solid Dodig by a break twice in the third set but errant forehands and spotty serving cost the Spaniard in the end. And credit to Dodig who has a sneaky good game to pull out the victory of his career – I believe Dodig was the only player to take a set this year off Novak Djokovic in Australia.

“I had to close the match with the 5-3 in the third set,” said Nadal. “I had to close that match probably in the second when I was playing very well, 6-1, 3-1, playing very high level of tennis.

“After that, the tennis is like this. You are winning without many problems, you have one mistake, and after the opponent starts to serve very well, playing very aggressive.”

How rare to see Nadal squander leads twice in that match.

Said Dodig, “I keep fighting second set even when I was down 3-1. I think I relaxed more and my serve started to work. Especially after I broke him first time, I was getting more points with my serve. I was getting also like more relaxed during the rallies. I was going more for the shots. Was working quite good today, especially in the important points.”

Nadal and Andy Murray’s losses leave the door wide open in that bottom half for the streaking Mardy Fish who blew out Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-3.

In a mild upset, Marin Cilic had his way with Juan Martin Del Potro taking down his fellow big man 6-3, 6-4. So far after early losses at LA and now Canada, this hasn’t been the summer I thought I’d see from Delpo.

Cilic, who’s been off the radar since the start of last year, now gets Djokovic today. The Serb survived an early 4-1 deficit to Nikolay Dayvdenko to run away with the match 7-5, 6-1 in his debut as a No. 1.

“He didn’t give me a lot of rhythm in the start of the match,” said Djokovic who improves to 49-1 on the year. “I didn’t play a match for four weeks. It took me some time to get used to the conditions, get into the match. I needed to hang in there. I needed to wait for the chances. I did. I turned the match around on 4-1 when I broke him the first time. Then I felt much more comfortable.”

Also on the slick-looking, rainy Montreal courts, Ernests Gulbis (who plays Fish tonight), Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, JW Tsonga and Roger Federer were also winners.

Tonight, Federer and Tsonga clash in the marquee match of the day. Federer, not known for his ability to choke, has egregiously done so twice against Tsonga.

Federer fell apart against Tsonga at Wimbledon this year blowing a 2-0 set lead. And in 2009 at Montreal Federer led 5-1 in the third set before seizing up to the Frenchman.

And Federer remembers.

“I will not think about that Wimbledon match as much as I might think about the match we had here two years ago,” said Federer. “Both matches were, so to speak, not normal matches. One, I was up in the third and I should have won. I never lose those. In Wimbledon, I lost in five sets. Again, that doesn’t happen often to me. So these two matches were strange matches.”

Does it happen for a third time today? I think with the quick court speed it’s very reasonable to see Tsonga pull the upset again. But I’ll give the slight edge to Federer who has to be out for revenge.

In Ontario, the hard times continue for the paper No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. The no-so-great-of-late Dane got dumped yesterday by Roberta Vinci in straight sets. It seems only a matter of time now before Caro surrenders her top ranking because with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova back in the fold I can’t see her winning Slams or major titles anytime soon.

Speaking of Serena and Maria, both earned similar straight wins yesterday. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and French Open victor Li Na were also second round winners.

ESPN2 will have live coverage from noon-4pm ET from Montreal today. will have the night session with Federer. Tennis Channel doesn’t have any coverage from Canada scheduled for today.


CENTRAL start 12:00 noon
[7] T Berdych (CZE) vs I Karlovic (CRO)
Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs M Cilic (CRO)
Not Before 5:30 PM
[12] V Troicki (SRB) vs [5] G Monfils (FRA)
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [13] J Tsonga (FRA)

BN COURT start 12:00 noon
A Murray (GBR) / J Murray (GBR) vs [8] E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO)
Not Before 1:00 PM
[14] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs K Anderson (RSA)
Not Before 3:30 PM
J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs I Dodig (CRO)
Not Before 5:00 PM
[6] M Fish (USA) vs [WC] E Gulbis (LAT)
Not Before 7:30 PM
[10] R Gasquet (FRA) vs [8] N Almagro (ESP)


Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Samantha Stosur vs. Li Na
2. Andrea Petkovic vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Maria Sharapova vs. Galina Voskoboeva (NB 15.00hrs)
4. Serena Williams vs. Zheng Jie (NB 19.00hrs)
5. Francesca Schiavone vs. Lucie Safarova

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Defending Champion Tsonga v Coric, Monfils v Fognini Monday In Montreal; Venus v Lisicki In Toronto
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Roger Federer: What’s Important is to Get Thru the Early Rounds in Montreal [Video]
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15 Comments for Nadal Knocked Out in Montreal, Federer v. Tsonga Tonight; Wozniacki Upset in Toronto

Tennis Vagabond Says:

That was a really crazy loss for Rafa- you just don’;t see him giving breaks back like that, losing the key points. Dodig did not play fantastic, but he played good enough to take advantage of an off day by Rafa. And most of all, he was up for the moment, never backed down even when Rafa was points away from the match. Great guts.
It wasn’t just that Rafa had an off day though, he was playing a very different style of tennis- perhaps trying to get himself back to the aggresive hard court Rafa that won at USO last year. 50+ winners and 30+ UEs for Rafa I think, those are numbers we never see from him.
So, is this Rafa trying again to reshape his game for different surface? Is it Rafa trying to come up with answers for Nole? Or was it just a bad day at the office?

MMT Says:

I’m not sure it was any of the above, to be honest. Nadal didn’t play his best when he needed to, which is rare for him, but he didn’t play poorly by any stretch – you cited the winners to errors ratio of almost +20 – that’s pretty good on any surface. Nadal also broke serve 5 times (to 3 for Dodig), and had higher percentage of 1st and 2nd serve points (75% to 69% and 55% to 47% respectively). He also won more games in the match (18 to 15) and more points.

I did see some subtle tactical changes, in attacking his returns and coming to net a little more often than he normally does, but it worked. The points he lost were points to reverted to his comfort zone, not the points he went after full-throttle.

Nadal played well and lost – it happens. Dodig just played better when it counted (down a break at 1-3 in the 2nd set, and down a break at 3-5 in the 3rd) and served better when he was in trouble. Nadal will be irritated, but I don’t see anything other than being outplayed on the “big” points, to worry about. I doubt he’ll make a habit of it going forward, although he won’t have as many matches as he might like going into the US Open.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Hi MMT- I didn’t mean the ratio was bad, but that the numbers were high. Rafa is just not a winners and ue player, right? Its the other guy who makes the ues. So there was a more offensive game plan.
You’re right that that’s probably not why he lost, as you point out the ratio was good and his volleying was, as always, excellent. But I don’t think you can say Rafa played well and lost. By his standards, he made some very unusual errors in the 2nd and 3rd sets- balls in the net or long that would normally be routine for him.
It only takes a few but its a few more than Rafa normally makes.

Brando Says:

I think nadal is looking to have a more aggressive style. This match even though it was a loss was still a good workout for him, 3 sets 2 tie breaks. Hopefully at cincy, which is the worst surface for him on tour, if he could get 4 matches in by playing at semi final stages which he has done twice before then that would be good enough to start the USO with. Considering how fast the cincy courts usually are, hopefully the change of tactics will help him succeed there and get some much needed confidence.

alison hodge Says:

rep brando i agree,a possitive loss if there is such a thing,any other day a set and a three love lead,he would have walked the match,this was a good match to try some new tactics,rafa will know where he went wrong,he will learn from his mistakes,he lost concentration thats all.

marrisv Says:

I agree. It was a good loss imo for Rafa. I was really pleased to see that he attacked the second serve returns standing closer to the baseline and his backhand was clean and clicking which is very important going in to USO

Ivan Says:

surprised to hear these comments! this was a BAD loss for him. twice he was up, couldn’t close. first round match, lost to a complete outsider. This is not going to give him the confidence to change his style of play! If at all, he will feel more uncomfortable in tense moments, and will go BACK to his style of play.

I guess his fans don’t want to see the writing on the wall – he is not as sharp this year as he was last year. Surprise surprise, he is now above 25 years in age!! I just hope he doesn’t get wiped out this hardcourt season. He has a lot of points to defend, unless he wins a few, he will find it tough coming back to No. 1.

Meanwhile, djoke rolls on. 50 wins this year, with 1 loss!!!!!!!! that’s STAGGERING, considering it includes 5 consecutive finals wins over Nadal, including two on clay and one in a slam final.

eugenie miller Says:

rafa will be ok he is a little rattle from the losses he took from the joker but he will get things together and all will be well in rafa land he is simply the best.

alison hodge Says:

rep ivan,ok rafa isnt as good as he was last year,theres only one reason for that nole,however to say the writings on the wall is a little premature,as a fan of his yes we would like him to reclaim the number 1 ranking,but we dont neccesarily see it as the be all and end all,at the begining of this year who would have thought nole would go 51 games with only 1 defeat,answer nobody,so on the whole rafa has had a pretty good year getting to 8 staight finals and winning 3 of them,sometimes even the best loose from time to time,nobodys perfect,but it doesnt nessaceraly mean they are in decline either.

Trufan Says:

I agree with Ivan. Nadal’s decline is clear. Just like federer’s was starting 07. Same age for everyone when they start to lose the edge.

Lets see the next two tournaments. Dodig’s win will give other players a lot of confidence playing nadal.

scineram Says:

Wasn’t his decline in 2009 already?

alison hodge Says:

in 2009 after loosing the number 1 ranking,the french open to soderling,the us open to delpo,and been unable to defend wimbledon through injury,rafa was completely written off,many claimed he would never win another grand slam ever again,also others said his career was all but over,and when he lost the australian open to murray at the begining of 2010,i dont think anybody thought differently,who would have seen that he would go on to win another 4 grand slams from then onwards,one of them been the us open,the slam everybody said he would never win in a million years,thats how ficle tennis or any other sport can be,aything can happen,so i wouldnt write rafa off just yet.

alison hodge Says:

how many grand slams has roger won since his so called decline in 2oo7 ive lost count,rafas won 4 grand slams since his supposed decline in 2009,decline hmmm.

Polo Says:

Except for this loss to Dodig, Nadal’s loses were all to Djokovic and they were all in the finals. This loss to Dodig may just be a fluke. To say that Nadal is declining is questionable and probably not warranted. Federer, on the otherhand, has been losing to just about everybody for quite a period of time already. That decline is incontrovertible.

alison hodge Says:

rep polo,you hit the nail on the head,even though roger,andy,jmdp,also lost early in montreal,no one seemed to bat an eyelid,all players have blips,yet rafa always seems the one thats singled out as been in decline,funny how even though delpo was injured for most of 2010,and dropped outside the top 400,and has only just recently got back to the top 20,nobody has ever said hes in decline so why rafa,i cannot understand it.

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