Rafael Nadal was disqualified from the Australian Open as fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco stunned the former world no.1 in a match of five sets.
Both left-handed compatriots produced a match filled with hard hits that thrilled every spectator for over 4 hours and 40 minutes.
Verdasco saved a break point to prevent going 3-0 down in the decider, going on to win 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 3-6 7-6 (4-7) 6-2.
He hit 90 winners and 20 aces at Nadal, who afterwards explained that “He played better than me.”
This marked the third time Nadal was unable to make it to the second week of a Grand Slam event, a far cry from his one Grand Slam per year decade.
He failed to get past the quarter-finals of his virtually franchised French Open last summer.Dustin Brown then eliminated him in the second round at Wimbledon, and Fabio Fognini put him out of the US Open.