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Australian Open 2016: Rafael Nadal crashes out in first round – live!

A momentarily tetchy Nadal slams his rackets back into his bag as he prepares to vacate the court, but he doesn’t even have the energy to sustain any anger. His head drops, and he mopes off in the throes of misery. Such a shame there had to be a loser after a fantastic match, and the departure of a very popular star will tug a few heart-strings this morning/afternoon/evening/night. But the result was totally right: Verdasco was simply brilliant in those final exchanges, blowing his more storied compatriot off the court. Verdasco’s interviewed on Rod Laver in the wake of this famous victory, although not before munching his way quickly through a banana. “Sorry. I need to eat. If not, I’m dead!” Much laughter from the stands. He then explains his victory. “I just hit everything. I just started hitting winners. I don’t know how. I closed my eyes and everything started dropping in, so I kept doing it! I started coming in, started to be aggressive, and I’m so happy. A win against Rafa is an unbelievable feeling.”

Nadal is out! Verdasco wins 7-6, 4-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2! Nadal ostentatiously springs about like Tigger, but nobody’s really convinced. He’s running on reserves. But he’s given a helping hand by Verdasco, who fails to put away a short and slow second serve. Nadal takes succour and a big serve gives him a 30-0 lead. Verdasco’s forehand makes it 30-15. And then another cross-court stunner! It’s 30-30! Nadal shovels a poor shot out of play on the right, and it’s match point to Verdasco. And he takes it first time, blowing his compatriot away with a stunning cross-court winner. This is Nadal’s 44th appearance in a major tournament, and he’s only previously lost in the first round once, against Steve Darcis at Wimbledon in 2013. Nadal was certainly not at his best - in fact during that final set he looked totally spent - but in fairness nobody could have lived with Verdasco in those final six games, when the Spaniard put his foot on the gas and blew his compatriot away with a series of blistering cross-court forehands. Wow.

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