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Rafael Nadal crashes out of Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal was in Andy Murray's half of the draw. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Hopes of Andy Murray becoming Wimbledon champion grew after two-time champion Rafael Nadal was dumped out of the grand slam by a previously unsung player on Thursday.

Czech Lukas Rosol's shock victory over Nadal in the second round match means Murray will be spared the possibility of facing the man who has knocked him out of the semi-finals twice previously.

The Scot could have faced old rival Nadal in this year's semi-finals - the same stage the Spaniard has knocked the 25-year-old out in the past two years.

Rosol collapses to his knees after beating the two-time champion on Centre Court. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The result is one of the biggest Wimbledon shocks in living memory, as Rosol beat the 11-time grand slam winner 6-7 (9/11) 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4 on centre court.

The result will buoy British fans, who saw their hopeful book a place in the tournament's third round on Thursday with a win over Ivo Karlovic to give Britain two players in the third round of Wimbledon for the first time in a decade.

The Scot joined women's hopeful Heather Watson after his victory - Britain has not had more than one player in the third round since 2002.

He was watched by mother Judy Murray, girlfriend Kim Sears, and grandparents Roy and Shirley Erskine, while the Duchess of Cambridge's siblings Pippa and James Middleton watched from the royal box.

After his win, Murray waved his fingers at the sky - the same gesture he made after his first round victory, but again refused to explain what it means.

"I don't want to go into it," he said. "Everyone is going to speculate as to many different things for what it is. It's something for me and the guys I work with.

"I don't know whether I'll continue doing it or not, but it's important to me just now."

Murray is into the third round. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Nadal's unexpected defeat comes as long-time rival Murray joked he was looking for a way to get him back for a text prank during last year's US Open.

Writing on a question and answer-style blog for the BBC, the 25-year-old said: "For those of you who don't know, I was having dinner with my girlfriend in New York during last year's US Open and I got a message on my phone from a number I didn't recognise.

"It said something like, 'You look great tonight, shame you're here with your girlfriend'.

"It was a tricky thing to tell Kim, it probably would've ruined the atmosphere a little bit.

"He (Nadal) was eating with his girlfriend behind us and came over after their meal but didn't say anything and just assumed I knew it was him.

"But it wasn't until I was walking back to the hotel that I realised and he went and told the whole tour about it!

"David Nalbandian did the same thing to me at the Australian Open but I didn't fall for it that time."

Bookmakers have slashed Murray's odds of making the final following Nadal's shock defeat. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Bookies slashed Murray's odd of making the final tonight in the wake of Nadal's shock exit.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: "Murray has a great chance of making the final after Nadal was beaten and he has been slashed from 10/1 to 11/2 to lift the big one."

After the match, Nadal said he was "very, very disappointed" but was philosophical about his Wimbledon exit.

But, well, that's sport. You win, you lose. Last four months were great for me.

You play against an inspired opponent and I am out. That's all. Is not a tragedy. Is only a tennis match.

At the end, that's life. There is much more important things. Sure, I wanted to win, but I lost. That's it.

– Rafael Nadal
Nadal waves goodbye to the Wimbledon crowd. Credit: EMPICS Sport/EMPICS Sport

Here are some of Wimbledon's most famous upsets in the men's singles down the years:

1970: Roger Taylor v Rod Laver

The only reason why Laver's name is not at the top of the all-time list of Grand Slam tournament winners is that he was barred from them at the height of his powers after turning professional in 1963. The open era brought more titles, and when he faced Britain's Roger Taylor in the fourth round in 1970 he had won 31 consecutive matches and was favourite to complete a Wimbledon hat-trick. National hero Taylor, advised by the press that he may as well stay at home, overwhelmed the champion 4-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 on a rising tide of patriotic fervour.

1987: Peter Doohan v Boris Becker

'Boom Boom Boris' burst onto the scene with incandescent energy as Wimbledon's youngest champion at the age of 17 in 1985. His flame burned with an intense heat for over a decade. He won the title again in 1986 - "My biggest achievement. Everyone questioned whether 1985 was a fluke. I felt the most pressure ever and played my best ever" - and arrived at the 1987 championships as favourite. He will not have had a sleepless night knowing Peter Doohan was waiting for him in the second round. But the unremarkable Australian played the match of his life to win 7-6 4-6 6-2 6-4. Becker shrugged his shoulders. "I lost a tennis match. Nobody died," he said.

1991: Nick Brown v Goran Ivanisevic

Charismatic Croatian Goran Ivanisevic was one year away from reaching his first Wimbledon final, in which he lost a five-setter to Andre Agassi, when he came up against unheralded Briton Nick Brown in the second round of the 1991 tournament. Brown, a 29-year-old who had quit the game for five years and was two years into his comeback, should not have had a prayer against a man who fired cannonballs. But he won 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-3 in an upset that was hailed by the ATP's own computer as the biggest shock since world rankings started 18 years earlier. Ivanisevic was seeded number 10, while Brown was the lowest-ranked player in the tournament at number 591.

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras was on the receiving end of a couple of shock results at SW19 during his career. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/Press Association Images

1996: Richard Krajicek v Pete Sampras

Richard Krajicek was an upset waiting to happen. The big-serving, 6ft 5ins Dutchman had the right game and right build to be a winner on grass, but suffered a first-round knockout at Wimbledon in both 1994 and 1995 and was not seeded the following year. Some experts, John McEnroe included, still believed he could play a big part in the tournament and nothing came bigger than the quarter-final pounding he gave triple champion Pete Sampras in winning 7-5 7-6 6-4 on his way to the title. It was the shock of the tournament, eclipsing even Sir Cliff Richard's impromptu concert as the rain poured down in the middle of the match.

2002: George Bastl v Pete Sampras

Sampras returned to his favourite hunting ground in 2002 without a tournament win in two years and carrying an injury. The seven-time champion left fending off questions about retirement as he suffered one of the most surprising defeats of his career to world 145 George Bastl of Switzerland in the second round. Sampras had bad battled back from two sets down to level, on the now-demolished Court Two which was famed as the 'Graveyard of Champions', but Bastl held his nerve to win the last 6-4.

Murray's second round opponent, Ivo Karlovic, dumped defending champion Lleyton Hewitt out in the first round back in 2003. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

2003: Lleyton Hewitt v Ivo Karlovic

Hewitt became just the second returning champion to exit in the first round as he fell foul of the big-serving Croatian on his Grand Slam debut. There was little indication what was to come when Karlovic lost the first set 6-1 to the number one seed. But he bounced back to seal a stunning victory 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-4 success over the Australian.

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