ROME: World No. 2 Rafael Nadal’s bid to win the Rome Masters for the fourth successive year was buried on Wednesday when he lost 7-5, 6-1 to Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Ferrero, the 2001 champion, got the match-turning break at the end of a tough first set.
The unseeded player then broke Nadal again in fourth game of the second and quickly finished off his Spanish compatriot, who had treatment on a foot injury at 4-1 down.
Nadal paid tribute to Ferrero but said the injury had hampered his performance.
“I have this pain in a point at the back of my foot, so it was tough for me,” the 21-year-old said.
Henin knocked out
World No. 1 and top seed Justine Henin was a shock third round casualty at the WTA German Open in Berlin on Thursday as she was beaten by Russia’s Dinara Safina 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 after a marathon third-round struggle.
The results: At Rome: ATP Rome Masters: Third round: Radek Stepanek bt Luis Horna 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; Novak Djokovic bt Igor Andreev 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Second round: Juan Carlos Ferrero bt Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-1; Nikolay Davydenko bt Mario Ancic 6-2, 6-2; Fernando Gonzalez bt Evgeny Korolev 6-3, 6-2; James Blake bt Andrea Seppi 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1; Andreev bt Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; Simon Bolelli bt Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-4. Doubles: Second round: Mariusz Fyrstenberg & Marcin Matkowski bt Paul Hanley & Leander Paes 4-6, 6-3, 10-6; Feliciano Lopez & Fernando Verdasco bt Mahesh Bhupathi & Mark Knowles 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-7.
At Berlin: WTA German Open: Third round: Dinara Safina bt Justine Henin 5-7, 6-3, 6-1; Alona Bondarenko bt Svetlana Kuznetsova 1-6, 6-2, 6-2; Elena Dementieva bt Vera Dushevina 7-5, 6-3. Second round: Kuznetsova bt Catalina Castano 6-3, 6-2; Maria Kirilenko bt Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-3; Agnieszka Radwanska bt Angelika Bachmann 6-1, 6-1; Justine Henin bt Chan Yung-jan 6-0 6-2; Sybille Bammer bt Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(5); Gisela Dulko bt Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5, Bondarenko bt Anabel Medina Garrigues 7-5, 0-6, 6-3. — Agencies