CHENNAI, India (Reuters) - Exhausted world number two Rafael Nadal suffered a setback before this month’s Australian Open after he was thrashed 6-0 6-1 by Mikhail Youzhny in the Chennai Open final on Sunday.
The Spaniard looked stiff from the start against fourth seed Youzhny, clearly showing the effect of his marathon four-hour semi-final win over compatriot Carlos Moya the previous day.
Nadal called for medical attention trailing 4-1 in the second set and then went through the motions as Youzhny completed his fourth career title win with ease, disappointing a large holiday crowd cheering the Spaniard.
“There was less than 24 hours for recovery,” Nadal told reporters, allaying any injury concerns ahead of the year’s first grand slam.
A gracious Youzhny said: “This victory is a present from Rafa to me. I didn’t win today, Rafa just lost the match because he couldn’t move well.”
Youzhny, the world number 19, produced an array of superb forehand shots to race through the first set in just over 20 minutes as Nadal made many unforced errors.
Although the Spaniard took a vitamin tablet during the break between the sets, it appeared to have no effect as Youzhny against broke his rival in the fourth game before going 4-1 up.
The trainer stretched Nadal’s right leg before the player returned to the court to complete the match, Youzhny serving out to secure victory in under one hour.
Editing by Justin Palmer