Nadal stunned by Klizan in China, injured Serena out
BEIJING (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal's return to action came to a shuddering halt on Friday when the Spaniard was beaten by Slovakia's Martin Klizan in a late-night quarter-final duel at the China Open.
After world number one Novak Djokovic had continued his march through the draw to set up a mouth watering semi-final against Andy Murray, Nadal ran out of steam against the aggressive Klizan who won 6-7(7) 6-4 6-3 for the biggest scalp of his career.
Women's top seed Serena Williams was forced to pull out through injury while Maria Sharapova destroyed Svetlana Kuznetsova in an all-Russian women's quarter-final.
American world number one Williams, who had reached the last eight on the Beijing hard courts with a three-set win over Czech Lucie Safarova late on Thursday, cited a problem in her left knee for handing a walkover to Australian Sam Stosur.
It was the second tournament in a row the 33-year-old, who won her 18th grand slam singles title at the U.S. Open last month, had been forced to withdraw after she quit her opening match at the Wuhan Open last week because of illness.
Djokovic, looking for a fifth title at the China Open, dismantled a flat Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-4 in a one-sided quarter-final while Murray maintained his quest to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals when he stormed past U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 6-1 6-4.
Nadal, making his return from a wrist injury at the China Open having not played since losing at Wimbledon, seemed to be on course for the semis and a match-up with Czech Tomas Berdych when he edged the first set on a tiebreak.
At the scene of his 2008 Olympic gold medal Nadal was then a break ahead in the second set when the match began to turn in favor of 56th ranked qualifier Klizan.
Klizan broke the Nadal serve twice to level the match but Nadal again forged ahead in the decider, leading 3-2 with a break before the match slipped irreversibly out of his control. Continued...