Swede Joachim Johansson made a stunning return to top tennis after a year of injury, hammering home a 6-4, 7-6 (7) upset win over Rafael Nadal in a Stockholm Open shock on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old "Jackhammer," his ranking languishing at 690 after shoulder surgery last summer and subsequent elbow problems rained down 17 aces against the Spanish world No. 2, following up his bombs with charging attacks on the net.
He reached his first quarter-final since Marseille in February of last year.
Johansson advanced as Nadal slammed a service return into the net to lose after one hour, 51 minutes.
"I played a decent match, but he attacked in the right moments. The crowd was not a factor, but his serve was. It's never easy coming from injury," said Nadal. "He played very aggressive in the important moments. He had a lot of confidence and no pressure."
Johansson last competed on the ATP in San Jose in February, losing in the first round. His last events were in the Swedish Futures series last month.
Nadal, the top seed and Stockholm debutant, found himself on the back foot from the start as his opponent served notice with four aces in his opening service game.
The Swede kept up the fierce pressure, breaking for 2-1 in the opening set and claiming the opener on his third opportunity when an off-balance Nadal netted.
The momentum stayed with the challenger in the second set, Johansson breaking to start but losing it for 2-all.
He quickly made up for lost ground to produce the popular upset.
Nadal paid the price as he played on the ATP for the first time since the US Open quarter-finals.
Earlier holder James Blake thrashed two time champion Thomas Johannson 6-3, 6-2.
The second-seeded American won his tenth ATP match in his last 11 outings since the start of the US Open as he claimed a first-round win over the 31-year-old Swede in 59 minutes.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first