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.
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