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Nadal Goes Down at Wimbledon

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Steve Darcis of Belgium pulled off one of the biggest Wimbledon upsets in straight sets today.

Nadal Goes Down at Wimbledon

Well, Wimbledon just became much less fun to watch.

Fifth-seeded Rafael Nadal, fresh off another French Open win and a two-time champion at Wimbledon, was upset by Belgium's Steve Darcis today in straight sets 7-6 (4), 7-6 (8), 6-4. Nadal had never lost in the first round of a major tournament and was riding a 22-match win streak. All that's gone thanks to the sharp play or Darcis.

A few things put Rafa at a disadvantage: this was his first match back on grass after the clay the French Open is played on. It's a difficult transition for anyone, even a player as talented as Nadal, and he wasn't able to adjust to Darcis' aggressive play at the net. Although he didn't admit it afterwards, his knee may have had an impact on the match. He didn't make any excuses, but a healthier Nadal may have been able to adjust better to the different surface.

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Like Nadal said, most of the credit needs to be with Darcis. Coming into the tournament as the 135th-ranked player in the world, I doubt anyone thought he would give Nadal much trouble. I don't expect a string of victories to follow (unless we have a real-life Peter Colt on our hands), but the field lost one of its big draws today. The path is definitely easier for Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.

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