Nadal's Roman tragedy

Second seed Rafael Nadal was pushed out of the Italian Masters after just two sets against his counterpart Juan Carlos Ferrero (7-5, 6-1). The Spaniard had suffered from a foot blister, which prevented him from playing at the top of his form.


REUTERS - Rafael Nadal's bid to win a fourth straight Rome Masters title stumbled at the first hurdle when the Spaniard lost 7-5 6-1 to compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero on Wednesday.

It is only the second time in his last 104 games that world number two Nadal has lost on clay including his defeat by Roger Federer in the final of last year's Hamburg Masters.

Ferrero, the unseeded 2001 champion, will meet the winner of the match between Britain's Andy Murray and Switzerland's
Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round.

The unseeded Ferrero consistently put number two seed Nadal under pressure in the first set.

A venomous serve helped the Spaniard save a set point in the 10th game but Ferrero got his reward two later, clinching the crucial break with a fine cross-court backhand.

Nadal had also been let down by some uncharacteristic unforced errors, with over-hit forehands costing him three set
points in the ninth game of the first set.

Ferrero grew in confidence and took the second of two break points in the fourth game of the second set, after Nadal saved the first with a brave drop shot.

Nadal then hit a net volley wide with the court begging when 4-1 down in the second set to confirm the impression he was far from his best, although he did have treatment on a foot blister at the end of that game.

Ferrero broke again straight after the restart and then served out the match to record his second win over his compatriot in eight encounters and his first on clay.

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