Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, has suffered his first round-one exit at the 2016 Australian Open as Fernando Verdasco recorded a stunning five-set win at Melbourne Park.
The Spanish left-handers produced an exhibition of hard-hitting to thrill those inside the Rod Laver Arena over four hours and 40 minutes.
Verdasco won the thriller 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, to hand Nadal only his second ever first-round defeat at a major tournament.
The victory will serve as a deserved revenge for Verdasco who in the semi finals of the 2009 edition lost to Nadal in another gruelling contest.
Verdasco will now meet Israel’s Dudi Sela after hitting 90 winners and winning six straight games to clinch victory over fifth seed Nadal.
Speaking thereafter the lost, Nadal, who had beaten Verdasco 14 times in 16 meetings said: “Everybody now tries to hit all the balls.”
“There are no balls that you can prepare the point. The game has become a little bit more crazy in this aspect.
“I was practising a little bit different, trying to be more aggressive. I can play defensive or offensive. But if you stay in the middle, then I am dead.”