Rafael Nadal was dumped out of the Italian Open by Denis Shapovalov
Rome (AFP) - Rafael Nadal crashed out of the Italian Open in the third round on Thursday after falling to a shock 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 defeat at the hands of Denis Shapovalov.
Defeat in Rome for ‘King of Clay’ Nadal casts doubt over his prospects at the upcoming French Open, where he has been crowned champion 13 times but faces a threat from teenage phenomenon Carlos Alcaraz.
The 35-year-old had been out for six weeks with a rib injury before returning for last week’s tournament in Madrid, and he began limping in the third set.
Nadal has won an all-time record 21 Grand Slam titles in a glittering two-decade career which may now finally be reaching its downturn.
World number 16 Shapovalov, who had pushed Nadal all the way when knocked out at this stage of the tournament last year, will now face Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals.