LONDON: Czech Lukas Rosol beat second seed Rafa Nadal 6-7 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the Wimbledon second round to complete one of the biggest ever upsets yesterday.
The world number 100, making his Wimbledon debut, overpowered the Spanish second seed who was seeking his third title at the All England Club with an inspired display on Centre Court.
"I never expected something like this," Rosol said. "I am very sorry for him but I hope I can play one more match like this. I played my best match ever. It means so much for me."
Nadal looked on course to reach the third round in routine fashion when he came through a marathon first-set tiebreak 11-9.
But Rosol, who has never gone beyond the third round of a grand slam, broke serve in the opening game of the second set and stunned Nadal with a succession of inspired winners from all over the court.
Nadal was powerless to stem the tide and was clearly upset by the 26-year-old Czech's aggressive style but he dug in to break serve at the start of the fourth set and repeated the feat to level at two sets all.
Officials decided to close the Centre Court roof to enable the match to be finished.
After a half-hour delay the players returned and Rosol immediately broke Nadal's serve.
He continued to subject the world number two to a barrage of aces and outrageous winners to set up a third-round match against German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
It was the first time Nadal had lost before the third round of a grand slam since he was beaten by Gilles Mueller in the second round at Wimbledon in 2005.
In a late match in the women's section yesterday, defending champion Petra Kvitova advanced to the third round by beating Elena Baltacha of Britain 6-0, 6-4.
Kvitova breezed through the first set in just 22 minutes and broke two more times in the second against the 101nd-ranked Baltacha.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray survived a trip into Wimbledon's land of the giant yesterday to reach the third round while Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams ganged-up on Gilles Simon in the equal prize money sexism storm.
Fourth seed Murray, a semi-finalist for the last three years, cut 6ft 10in Croat Ivo Karlovic down to size as the world number four clinched a 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) victory.
He next plays Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.
Karlovic fired 17 aces to Murray's 11 and 58 winners to 43. But the Croat was undone by 42 unforced errors compared to the Scot's meagre eight.
Former champions Sharapova and Williams took drastically different routes into the third round.
Top seed Sharapova, the 2004 champion, had to dig deep to clinch a gritty 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (3/7), 6-0 victory over Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova, a semi-finalist in 2010 and quarter-finalist last year.
Sharapova, playing her first tournament since her maiden French Open triumph, had recovered from 5-2 down to take the first set and had just broken to move 3-1 ahead when the tie was suspended due to bad light on Wednesday evening.
On the resumption, Pironkova belied her ranking of 38 to level the tie as the Court One crowd sensed an upset.
It was the first set the 24-year-old had snatched from the Russian in four meetings, but Sharapova took her 2012 three-set record to a perfect nine from nine by racing through the decider.
She will next face Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei as last year's runner-up tries to reach the Wimbledon final for the third time.
Four-time champion Williams reached the third round with a 6-1, 6-4 demolition of Hungarian qualifier Melinda Czink and next faces Chinese 25th seed Zheng Jie, who she beat in the 2008 semi-finals, for a place in the last 16.
But instead of discussing their tournament prospects, the two All England Club A-listers aimed their fire at French world number 13 Gilles Simon who reignited the equal prize money row by insisting that the men should be paid more because their events were more popular.
"No matter what anyone says, or the criticisms that we get, despite everything else, I'm sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his, so....," said Sharapova in an ice-cold put down.
Williams backed up her title rival.
"She's way hotter than he is, so more people will watch Maria," said the American.
Andy Roddick, a three-time runner-up, went through to the last 32 with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 win over Germany's Bjorn Phau and will face Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer who put out France's Kenny De Schepper 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 6-4.
Women's ninth seed Marion Bartoli of France, the runner-up to Venus Williams in 2007, was knocked out by Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic, 6-4, 6-3.