Rafael Nadal has played 1276 ATP matches since 2002. The Spaniard has turned 1063 ATP wins into 92 ATP titles, staying competitive for two decades and fighting for the ATP throne at 36. Rafa has played 65 ATP matches against rivals from outside the top-150, handling those rivals efficiently since his earliest days on the Tour.
Nadal is 63-2 versus the opponents ranked below the 150th spot, suffering the second defeat last week in Cincinnati. Nadal faced the first rival from outside the top-150 during his Major debut in 2003. He claimed 17 consecutive victories against them before Stockholm 2006.
The 20-year-old met the giant serves Joachim Johansson and experienced a 6-4, 7-6 loss in an hour and 52 minutes. The Swede blasted 17 aces and played better in the crucial moments after fending off six out of seven break chances.
Rafa lost serve twice and fell 7-4 in the second set tie break to hit the exit door against world no. 690!
Rafael Nadal is 63-2 against the rivals from outside top-150.
Nadal had won the following 46 encounters against rivals from outside the top-150 for a 63-1 mark!
Last week, Nadal lost to world no. 152 Borna Coric in the second round in Cincinnati for his worst defeat in terms of ranking in 16 years! Borna prevailed 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 51 minutes. Coric played on a high level for the entire week and gained a boost from this victory that carried him towards the first Masters 1000 crown.
The Spaniard missed his chances in the opener and suffered a break in the decider to hit the exit door and experience his earliest loss in almost six years! There were only three break chances in the entire encounter, and the rivals grabbed one return game in sets two and three.
Borna missed the only break chance in the opener at 3-3, and the set went into a tie break after a rain delay. Rafa came back from 4-2 down and grabbed three straight points. He earned the first set point at 6-5 but failed to convert it on his serve.
Borna saved the second at 6-7 and created his first at 8-7. Nadal saved it with a forced error and denied the second to lock the result at 9-9. Rafa hit an expensive double fault at 9-10 to lose the opener after an hour and 14 minutes!
The Spaniard served well in the second set and grabbed a break at 3-3 after Coric's loose forehand. Nadal moved 5-3 up with a winner at the net and closed the set with another at 5-4 to force a decider. Both players served under 50% in the final set and still lost only 11 points in service games.
Coric produced five comfortable holds and kept the pressure on the other side. The Croat forced Nadal's forehand mistake at 3-2 for two break chances. Rafa played a loose forehand to get broken and fall 4-2 behind. Borna served for the victory in game nine and held with a forehand crosscourt forehand to seal the deal and celebrate a notable triumph.