Djokovic advances, Rafa crashes out in Montreal


Rafael Nadal crashed out of the Montreal Masters in his opening match on Wednesday in a shock defeat at the hands of Croatia’s Ivan Dodig. Nadal now has more work to do to regain the world number one ranking from Novak Djokovic, who shook off a slow start to beat Nikolay Davydenko and continue his winning ways. Dodig, ranked 41st in the world, fired 19 aces in a 1-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) victory over Nadal, who took to the court with a sinus infection but still ran away with the first set.
“Honestly, I didn’t feel I played bad… but I can’t say I played well. In the decisive moments, I didn’t play well, that’s the truth,” the Spanish world number two said.
Dodig used his big serve to mount a comeback and eventually to give himself a chance of victory when he fired down a 135 mile an hour (217 kilometre an hour) ace to take a 6-5 lead in the third-set tiebreaker. He took the match on the next point with a backhand that Nadal could not return. “This is the biggest win of my career, of my life,” said an excited Dodig.
“I enjoyed it so much. I was fighting hard for every point. In the end I managed, I’m really happy.” Nadal said Dodig’s go-for-broke play and his own lack of recent matches contributed to the defeat. “He played very well, very aggressive,” Nadal said. “He didn’t feel the pressure in the important moments.”
Nadal had his chances, leading 3-1 in the second set and 3-0 in the third. He also served for the match at 5-3 in the final set but was unable to close it out. Djokovic, who reached the third round with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Davydenko, has now won 49 of the 50 matches he has played this season.
He rose to number one in the world in the wake of his Wimbledon triumph, ending Nadal’s 56-week reign atop the rankings. Djokovic, a winner in Montreal in 2007, broke Davydenko seven times in a match originally scheduled for Tuesday but pushed back a day by rain.
Third seed Roger Federer began his hardcourt run to the US Open with a clinical 7-5, 6-3 defeat of Canadian wildcard Vasek Pospisil. The Swiss was playing his first ATP match since his Wimbledon quarter-final loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. And the win set up a re-match with the Frenchman, who advanced with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) victory over Australian Bernard Tomic.
Federer said he was looking forward to facing Tsonga again and the contest was wide open. Tsonga said he is taking nothing for granted as he meets his rival for the second time in six weeks. “He’s still the best player ever for me and it’s still tough to play against him,” Tsonga said.
Federer is vying for a third Canadian title, after winning in 2004 and 2006. He said it was always a relief to get past a local favorite such as Pospisil. French fifth seed Gael Monfils advanced, defeating Alex Bogomolov 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) and 10th-seeded Richard Gasquet earned another win for France, defeating Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-1, 6-4. Seventh-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych also progressed, rallying for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov, while eighth-seeded Nicolas Almagro beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).