Madrid Flashback: Rafael Nadal wastes huge lead and ends his blue clay run

Rafael Nadal lost to Fernando Verdasco in the 2012 Madrid Masters third round from 5-2 up

by Jovica Ilic
Madrid Flashback: Rafael Nadal wastes huge lead and ends his blue clay run

Rafael Nadal hated every minute of his 2012 Madrid Masters campaign on blue clay! The Spaniard defeated Nikolay Davydenko in the opening match before ending his run against the compatriot Fernando Verdasco. Rafa wasted a massive advantage in the decider and fell 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 after three hours and three minutes.

Verdasco trailed 5-2 in the final set before rattling off five straight games and delivering Nadal's earliest Caja Magica loss after three consecutive finals. Fernando beat Rafa for the first time after 13 straight losses, keeping his focus in the decider and earning a notable victory for a place in the quarter-final.

Verdasco took four points more than Nadal and saved nine out of 15 break chances to reduce the deficit in his games. Fernando converted seven out of ten opportunities on the return, using them nicely and crossing the finish line first.

Rafa stayed under 20 winners and counted almost 40 unforced errors, unable to find the rhythm that would carry him through. Nadal wasted three break points in the encounter's opening game and got broken at love in the next one following a double fault.

Rafael Nadal wasted a 5-2 lead in the final set against Verdasco in Madrid 2012.

Verdasco also hit a double fault in game three to lose serve and bring the rival back to the positive side. Fernando secured another break in game six and held after a marathon game to extend the advantage.

Serving for the set at 5-3, Verdasco held at love with an ace to move a set away from the triumph. Raising his level, Rafa forced Fernando's error in the second set's fourth game to open a 3-1 gap before Verdasco pulled the break back in game seven.

Staying calm, Nadal scored another break in game eight and held at 15 to wrap up the set 6-3 and gain a boost. Carried by this momentum, Rafa broke Fernando at 1-1 in the final set and again at 3-1 for a massive advantage.

Verdasco pulled one break back before facing three break points at 2-4. Nadal broke him and opened a 5-2 gap, looking good to seal the deal a few minutes later. However, Fernando was ready to fight until the end. He produced breaks in games eight and ten to level the score at 5-5 and grab momentum.

Verdasco fired a service winner in game 11 and rattled off the fifth straight game with a forehand winner at 6-5 that carried him over the top and one of his finest victories.

Rafael Nadal Fernando Verdasco Madrid Masters