Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

Rafael Nadal upset by No. 100-ranked player at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England — Rafael Nadal bumped into his unknown, unheralded opponent as they headed to a break between games. Perhaps it was incidental contact.

At the previous changeover, Nadal stood and barked at the chair umpire, complaining about being distracted by 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol while serving. Later, Nadal shook his head and frowned when a Wimbledon official explained that, with light fading and the second-round match heading to a fifth set, they'd need a 45-minute break to close the retractable roof and turn on the lights at Centre Court.

But of all the things that rattled Nadal on Thursday, the most significant was Rosol's gutsy game — his 22 aces, violent groundstrokes and shot-punctuating stare downs. Put it together and Rosol, making his debut at the All England Club, overpowered 11-time Grand Slam champion Nadal 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, one of the most astonishing results in tennis history.

"That's (what) happens when you play against a player who is able to hit the ball very hard, hit the ball without thinking and feeling the pressure," Nadal, seeded second, said. "At the end, when the opponent wants to play like he wanted to play in the fifth (set), you are in his hands, no? Everything was going right for him."

It's the first time since 2005 Nadal lost in the second round at any major (that also was in the second round at Wimbledon). It also ends two streaks for the Spaniard: He reached the final at the previous five Grand Slams, and he reached the final the last five times he entered Wimbledon, winning in 2008 and 2010.

The last time a No. 2 men's seed lost this early in a Grand Slam was at the 2005 French Open, when Andy Roddick went down.

"He played a good match," Rosol said of Nadal, "but I think I was better (Thursday)."

Still, Rosol considered it stunning he was able to stay close, much less win. Asked what his expectations had been, Rosol said: "Just to play three good sets, you know. Just don't lose 6-0, 6-1, 6-1."

"I'm not just surprised; it's like a miracle for me," he said. "I never expected something like this."

They're both 26, yet Nadal entered the day with 583 career match wins and Rosol 19. Nadal owns 50 titles, Rosol zero. In 178 prior Grand Slam matches, Nadal never had lost to a foe ranked 70th or worse. In five previous visits to Wimbledon, Rosol had lost every time in the first round of qualifying — not even the main event. This is only the Czech player's second career tour-level event on grass; the first was two weeks ago.

Rosol thought Nadal was trying to throw him off in the third set with a bit of gamesmanship. First, after Rosol broke to go ahead 2-1, Nadal complained to the chair umpire about something his foe was doing to bother him. "So do you think that's fair?" Nadal asked. "Let me know."

Nadal wouldn't say later what he was complaining about, saying he didn't want to appear to be making excuses for his loss. ESPN analyst John McEnroe said Nadal complained that Rosol was making a "weird breathing noise."

At the following changeover, they crossed paths on the way to their seats, and Nadal offered a body-check.

"He wanted to take my concentration," Rosol said. "That's okay. I knew he would try something, but I was concentrating."

Nothing fazed Rosol, especially down the stretch.

That one result rendered all the others on Day 4 of Wimbledon relatively meaningless. For the record: Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams reached the third round, as did Roddick and Mardy Fish.

Comments
What’s gone wrong with the Lightning?

What’s gone wrong with the Lightning?

It didn't take the sound of a door slamming in the dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated. Tampa Bay felt like it worked hard – at least, harder than Thursday's listless loss to Vegas – yet dropped anothe...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki is through to the Australian Open quarterfinals and with a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking in women’s tennis. Wozniacki beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 today at Rod Laver Arena. Rybarikova...
Published: 01/20/18

Sports in brief

SPORTSNO AIR FORCE GAMES; NFL BROADCASTS ABROAD IN JEOPARDYThe federal government shutdown prompted the Air Force Academy on Saturday to call off sports events and upended plans for military outside the United States wanting to follow today’s NFL con...
Published: 01/20/18
Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jalen Hudson came off the bench to score 17, and Chris Chiozza, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes contributed clutch baskets down the stretch as Florida rallied to upset No. 18 Kentucky 66-64 Saturday night. "We were able to win it jus...
Published: 01/20/18

Avalanche climbs into playoff spot with ninth straight win

DENVER — The Avalanche has gone from pushover to powerhouse in less than a season, and its recent streak is evoking memories of past glory. Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist each, Jonathan Bernier made 27 save...
Published: 01/20/18
After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

CLEVELAND — LeBron James came up just short of 30,000 points. Oklahoma City nearly got there, too. Unable to stop Paul George, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony, the Cavaliers were embarrassed 148-124 Saturday by the Thunder, which not only rolled...
Published: 01/20/18
McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy fired 7-under 65 Saturday in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Championship to move one shot behind co-leaders Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters. Fisher shot 65 and overnight leader Pieters added 67 to reach...
Published: 01/20/18

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMiami at N.C. StatenoonCh. 44Rutgers at MichigannoonBig TenWomen: South Carolina at KentuckynoonESPNUWomen: Marquette at VillanovanoonFS1Women: George Washington at DaytonnoonCBSSNWomen: Virginia Tech at Virginia12:30 p.m.Fox S...
Published: 01/20/18