Tired Nadal beaten as Federer, Djokovic march on

Friday, 15 October 2010 00:49 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Exhausted world number one Rafa Nadal suffered a surprise 6-1 3-6 6-3 defeat by Austria’s Juergen Melzer in the third round of the Shanghai Masters on Thursday, while Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic marched on.

Nadal, who won the Tokyo Open on Sunday and was playing in his third tournament back-to-back, had not lost a set to Melzer in their three previous meetings.

The crowd was left stunned on Thursday as he lost that record in wretched fashion, dropping serve twice in the first set amid a series of unforced errors on his way to defeat by the 13th seed.

“This isn’t a surprise for me. I didn’t play well. I felt slow on court and I made more mistakes than usual,” the Spaniard told reporters.

“In general, I am a little bit more tired than usual, physically and mentally.

“You can’t expect to win every week. All the good work is done for me for the year,” added Nadal, who has already secured the year end number one ranking with several tournaments to spare after winning the Wimbledon, U.S. and French Open titles this season.”

Melzer said had to seize the early initiative after sensing Nadal was not 100 percent.

“I felt he was uncomfortable after a few games. When the ball was in play, he sometimes missed and his backhand was just dying in the net,” the Austrian said.

“I felt if I kept playing like that and not give him too much rhythm, I’d have my chance.”

World number two Djokovic reached the last eight with a 6-1 6-1 victory over France’s Richard Gasquet, while third seed Roger Federer swept aside Italian Andreas Seppi 6-3 6-4 to also seal a quarter-final berth.

Briton Andy Murray secured his place at the ATP season-ender in London next month with a routine 6-3 6-4 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

“I didn’t get broken today. I served a lot into his forehand and varied the serve, which helped,” said Murray, who lost in the quarter-finals of the China Open last week,

The fourth seed will next meet France’s Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, who celebrated wildly after beating German Florian Mayer 7-5 6-3.

Serb Djokovic produced a scorching display against Gasquet.

“I did really well from the start. I put pressure on him. I was aggressive and I knew I had to be,” said the U.S. Open runner-up who secured his 18th career title at the China Open on Monday.

Sweden’s fifth seed Robin Soderling beat Spain’s David Ferrer, seeded 11, 7-5 6-4 while Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez also advanced after beating seventh seed Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6 6-3.