x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Nadal loses to Ljubicic despite playing 'better than ever'

Rafa Nadal described his semi-final loss to Ivan Ljubicic on Saturday as an "accident" and felt he had been playing close to his best here.

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA // Rafa Nadal described his semi-final loss to Ivan Ljubicic on Saturday as an "accident" and felt he had been playing close to his best here. The Spanish world No 3 was upset 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 by the big-serving Croat after he had squandered three break points in the sixth game of the second set to lead 4-2. "That was an accident. That's my feeling, because I was playing well enough to win the tournament," he said.

"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.

Nadal'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 started 2010, I was playing at my best. I was playing at my best all the time," he said. "On hard courts, 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.

"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'm 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." * Reuters