French Open champion and top-seed Rafael Nadal fell in his first match since Roland Garros as he was stunned by German Wild Card Dustin Brown 6-4, 6-1 in the Gerry Weber Open on Thursday.
Brown broke Nadal’s serve in his fifth try late in the first set to jump ahead and capture the opening frame 6-4. He followed that up by breaking the Spaniard’s serve twice in the early part of the second set thanks to two dramatic lobs that Nadal was unable to return.
In full control, the German Brown playing in front of his home crowd stormed away from the world number one, winning the second set 6-1 and capturing a birth in the quarterfinals in just under an hour.
Whether it was fatigue or a lack of focus, Nadal was not his usual self all match long. It was his first match since winning his fifth straight French Open title on Sunday after receiving a bye in the early rounds of this tournament. He lost just two sets over the course of the two-week French Open, but was only able to manage five game victories in his match Thursday.
The 85th ranked player in the world Brown now moves on to battle another German, Philipp Kohlschreiber, for a spot in the semifinals.
Second-seeded Roger Federer also moved into the quarterfinals on Thursday, beating Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-2. After losing the first set in a tough tiebreaker, Federer dominated the final two sets and will next face Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei.
The upset over Nadal was not the only one to take place on Thursday as over in England, Andy Murray lost his third-round bout with Radek Stepanek, falling to the Czech in straight sets 7-6(10), 6-2 at the Aegon Championships.
It was Murray’s first loss on grass since the 2012 Wimbledon final as the Great Britain native failed to capitalize on eight set points in the first set as he lead the tiebreaker 6-2. Stepanek than seized the opportunity and took the opener on his second set point.
With momentum on his side, the 35-year old got an early break point in the second set to open up his lead. He would win five of the next seven games to beat the hometown Murray in straight sets in just under two hours.
“Beating him is actually a great win for me,” said Stepanek. “When you play the best ones, you’re going to come out with your best. I think that’s what I did today.”
He will next face South African Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals after Anderson hung on to beat Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsy 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4).