Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray falter on bad day for big stars

updated 3:09 PM EDT, Thu June 12, 2014
Rafael Nadal was beaten in straight sets by Germany's world No. 85 Dustin Brown at Halle.
Rafael Nadal was beaten in straight sets by Germany's world No. 85 Dustin Brown at Halle.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Nadal beaten in opening round of ATP event in Germany
  • French Open champion loses to world No. 85 Dustin Brown
  • Andy Murray loses at London's Queen's Club
  • Defending champion beaten in straight sets by Radek Stepanek

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal, the man who stood on top of the tennis world after winning his ninth French Open title last weekend, was brought back to earth with a bump Thursday.

The world No.1, so dominant on the clay at Roland Garros, was beaten in the first round of the ATP grass-court event in Halle, Germany, by a player ranked 84 places below him.

German Dustin Brown required less than an hour to win 6-4 6-1 on the grass to send Nadal crashing out of the tournament.

The Spaniard, playing his first match on grass since he was stunned in the opening game of last year's Wimbledon, appeared to struggle with the transition.

At Wimbledon 12 months ago, Nadal was beaten by Czech Lukas Rosol who was ranked 100 at the time in a five-set thriller.

French Open champs 25 years on
Sharapova's love affair with Paris
French Open outsider's meteoric rise

And any hopes he would be given the chance to warmup for a return to SW19 were given short shrift by home favorite Brown.

Brown had only ever beaten one top-10 player, John Isner, and this result ranks as his best yet.

Nadal wasn't the only star to falter Thursday -- Andy Murray, who is set to start the defense of his Wimbledon title later this month, was beaten at Queen's Club in London.

Murray was beaten by veteran Czech Radek Stepanek 7-6 6-2 in his second match since appointing former women's No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach.

The 27-year-old, who won the Queens title in 2009, 2011 and 2013, had won his past 19 matches on grass.

"I have only got myself to blame that I lost the first set," the Scot told the ATP website.

"I don't know how many set points I had, but quite a lot of them were on my serve.

"On this surface especially you shouldn't really be losing sets like that. For me, that's what's disappointing really about the match. Then, unfortunately, got broken in the first game of the second set. I couldn't quite get it back."

The 35-year-old Stepanek's reward is a quarterfinal clash with South African Kevin Anderson.

Meanwhile, seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer survived a scare in Halle before booking his place in the quarterfinals with a 6-7 6-4 6-2 win over Joao Sousa.

The Swiss ace, who has won this tournament on six occasions, will face Taiwan's Yen-Hsun Lu for a place in the semifinals.

"It was slightly frustrating at times clearly, but nevertheless I served well and kept on doing my thing," said fourth-ranked Federer, who lost in the last 16 at Roland Garros.

"It was important to stay calm and actually I think it gives me more confidence winning this way.

"I had to stay calm, fight through the match and find a way and then the last set and a half were much better. So, I'm actually pretty happy now."

Read: Record ninth French title for Nadal

Read: Sharapova regains Paris title

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
ADVERTISEMENT