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Superstars Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic Both Fall In Rome
By Ken Miller, Lawn Tennis Analyst, Posted: Monday, May 13, 2024 3:42am PST USA
Superstars Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic Both Fall In Rome Rome--Over the weekend in Rome, the Italian Open lost two of its superstar players as both Rafael Nadal of Spain as well as the world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia lost on consecutive days in shock early round defeats.

The 37 year old former world number one Rafael Nadal, currently ranked 305 due to an extended injury break, delivered too many errors and was not able to control enough points in his second round match Saturday versus the 7th seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.

Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia
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Nadal was not able to break the powerful serve of Hurkacz; going zero for seven in breakpoint chances.

The left-hander Nadal also was not able to break the powerful serve of Hurkacz at any point during the day; going zero for seven in breakpoint chances.

In set one Nadal hit several dropshot attempts either wide or into the net as he tried to change the pace of the rallies.

The 27 year old 6 foot 5 inches tall Hurkacz slammed several powerful forehand, serve and overhead winners to overpower Nadal and take a one set lead.

In the second set, 6 foot one inch tall ten time Rome champion Nadal served up his own aggressive serves and forehands to pull to a closer set score of 3-4.

However after falling behind a break of serve at one game all, Nadal was never able to recover.

Serving at 4-3, Hurkacz struck a powerful crosscourt forehand winner.

Nadal then committed three consecutive groundstroke errors to trail 3-5.

With Nadal serving to stay in the match at 30 all, Hurkacz struck an inside out crosscourt forehand winner to reach matchpoint.

Nadal struck a down the line forehand long to end the match 6-1, 6-3 after one hour and 32 minutes of play.

Nadal, who waved to the Italian crowd before exiting the court, will play this month's Roland Garros unseeded in an interesting turn of events.

Nadal is a 14 time Roland Garros champion.

In his third round match Sunday versus Djokovic, the 29th seeded Alejandro Tabilo of Chile, scored an assist from a fan who had after Djokovic's second round match leaned down from the stands to attempt to get an autograph.

A metal water bottle fell from the fan's backpack and hit Djokovic on the head.

Two days later, the 36 year old Djokovic seemed to suffer physically from the accidental incidient as his game was off and he appeared a step slow Sunday.

The 26 year old left-hander Tabilo struck several powerful forehand winners before racing to a 5-1 set one lead.

Tabilo then took the opening set as well as a 2-0 set two lead.

Serving to stay in the match at 3-5, Djokovic, who has not won a tournament this year, struck two forehand errors to trail 0-30.

After reaching 30 all, Djokovic then struck an inside out crosscourt forehand wide before doublefaulting on matchpoint to lose 6-2, 6-3 in only 67 minutes.

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