Nadal shrugs off Ljubicic loss

Reuters - Sun, 21 Mar 08:53:00 2010

Rafael Nadal described his stunning semi-final loss to Ivan Ljubicic as an "accident", and felt he had been playing close to his best at the Indian Wells ATP tournament.

2010 Indian Wells Masters Rafael Nadal - 0

The Spanish world number three was upset 3-6 6-4 7-6 by the big-serving Croat at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden after he had squandered three break points in the sixth game of the second set to lead 4-2.

"That was an accident today," Nadal said after failing in his bid to win a third title at Indian Wells in four years. "That's my feeling, because I was playing (well) enough to win the tournament.

"It was an important accident, and I have to learn to try to play more aggressive next time, try to convert the opportunities.

"But for the rest, nothing to say, no? I was feeling I was playing better than probably ever on this court."

Left-hander Nadal was playing his first tournament on the ATP circuit since shaking off the knee injury that forced him to abandon his Australian Open title defence in January.

Saturday's loss to Ljubicic, only his second defeat by the Croat in seven career meetings, left him with a win-loss record this season of 12-3.

"Since I start 2010, I was playing at my best," the 23-year-old Spaniard said. "I was playing at my best all the time.

"On hardcourts, I won when I came with big confidence, when I was playing unbelievable. This year, I play at all the tournaments really well.

"Only in Australia, the first two matches I didn't play like my best, but against Murray I was playing fine," added Nadal, who was forced to withdraw from his Australian Open quarter-final against Briton Andy Murray in Melbourne.

"This tournament I was playing very good, having very good victories, beating a very difficult opponent like (John) Isner, and later against a very good (Tomas) Berdych.

"So I happy about how I did here. I am playing at my best level. I know that. But just not today."

Some of Nadal's disappointment was soothed later in the day when he and compatriot Marc Lopez upset top seeds Daniel Nestor of Canada and Serb Nenad Zimonjic 7-6 6-3 to win the men's doubles title.

"For Marc and me, it was an amazing week and a dream to win the title here," Nadal said.

"After losing an important singles, the victory in doubles makes me happy. Always is nice to win the tournament, no?"

WTA Indian Wells

Final - Sunday 21st March 6.30pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player


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