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Beyond the Baseline

Rafael Nadal loses to Nicolas Almagro in quarterfinals of Barcelona Open

Rafael Nadal Rafael Nadal lost in the quarterfinals for the second tournament in a row. (Getty Images)

For the second week in a row, No. 1 Rafael Nadal has lost in the quarterfinals at a clay tournament he's dominated.

No. 20 Nicolas Almagro stunned Nadal 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 on Friday at the Barcelona Open, snapping the eight-time champion's 41-match winning streak in the ATP 500 event. Almagro beat his Spanish countryman for the first time in 11 attempts, rallying from 1-3 in the third set and saving two break points when he served for the match at 5-4. Before Almagro prevailed in a 76-minute second set, Nadal had won 44 consecutive sets in Barcelona.

"I felt I did a lot of things well to win, but at the end, [there] remained a little bit [missing]," Nadal said. "Just accept the situation and keep fighting."

He added: "For two sets I was playing better than him, much more chances than him. I was in advantage [in the third set], in control, and I missed a lot of opportunities during the match. And playing against a good opponent like him, the normal thing is lose in the end and that's what happened."

Nadal hadn't lost in Barcelona since his tournament debut as a 16-year-old in 2003. The defeat comes a week after his earliest loss in 11 years at another tournament he's won eight times, the Monte Carlo Masters. David Ferrer upset Nadal 7-6 (1), 6-4 to snap a 17-match clay losing streak in the series.

Nadal acknowledged earlier this week that his self-belief is lacking as he gears up for the French Open, where he is 59-1 with eight titles.

"I started the season OK except for some lack of confidence and competitiveness in important moments of certain matches," he said.

Almagro will play Santiago Giraldo in the semifinals. Kei Nishikori and Ernests Gulbis will meet in the other semifinal.

"This is an important win for my career," Almagro said.

Highlights

Match point:

http://youtu.be/WKW4jrwzbf8

(via Tennis HD)


Almagro backhand winner:

(via ATP World Tour)

Player reaction

Almagro:

(via ATP World Tour)


Nadal:

(via ATP World Tour)


Twitter reaction








This post has been updated.

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