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Fernando Verdasco

Rafael Nadal suffers 'painful' loss in Australian Open

Rafael Nadal suffers 'painful' loss in Australian Open

For five sets and nearly five hours, two chiseled Spanish left-handers went head-to-head again at the Australian Open.

It wasn't a semifinal this time, though, and it didn't end nearly as well for Rafael Nadal, who lost, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, to Fernando Verdasco on Tuesday and was eliminated in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament for only the second time in a career that has netted him 14 major titles.

Nadal won his only Australian title in 2009 after overcoming Verdasco in a five-hour 14-minute semifinal, a match that still ranks among the classics at Melbourne Park.

This time, Verdasco rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the last two sets, and came...

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