Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rafael Nadal's winning streak in Barcelona is ended by Nicolas Almagro

April 25, 2014 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
Rafael Nadal comes to terms with defeat in Barcelona as his 41-match winning streak ends
Rafael Nadal comes to terms with defeat in Barcelona as his 41-match winning streak ends
  • Rafael loses his first match at the Barcelona Open in 11 years
  • His winning run of 41 matches and eight titles ends in quarter-finals
  • Fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro powers to 2-6 7-6(5) 6-4 win
  • In Stuttgart, defending champion Maria Sharapova reaches last four

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal's 11-year reign in Barcelona is over.

The world No.1 lost his first match at the Barcelona Open since 2003 as he was knocked out by fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the quarter-finals.

Almagro, a clay court specialist ranked 20th in the world, saw off Nadal in an intense 2-6 7-6(5) 6-4 victory lasting nearly three hours.

"I had difficulties in the first set and struggled with Nadal's shots," Almagro told reporters in Barcelona.

"I started to hit harder and play more aggressively as the match continued, especially when I had the wind in my back."

Rafael Nadal: Comeback was difficult
French tennis flying high
Teen sensation with the X factor

Nadal, who lost in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals to David Ferrer last week, had last been beaten in Barcelona when he was just 15 years old.

He had been invincible on Barcelona's clay courts, winning 41 straight matches and eight titles.

But Nadal was philosophical in defeat, saying in his post-match media conference: "I played better than him in the first two sets but I didn't make use of my opportunities.

"This is sport. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Tennis is like this. Now I need to start fighting and thinking about Madrid.

"I can only congratulate Nico now."

Amagro goes on to face Colombian Santiago Giraldo while Latvia's Ernest Gulbis faces Japan's Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals Saturday.

Nadal turns to his preparations for the Madrid Open, which begins on 4th May, as his next tune up for the French Open.

The second grand slam of the season, which the 27-year-old has won a record eight times, begins on 25th May.

After his defeat in Barcelona, Nadal paid tribute to the former coach of the city's football team Tito Vilanova, who died Friday.

"Tennis is just a game," said Nadal. "What really matters today is Tito Vilanova. I want to send all my support and wishes to his family in this sad moment."

Read: Former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova dies

In Stuttgart, Maria Sharapova cemented her place in the semi-finals -- and the world's top 10 -- with victory over Agnieszka Radwanska.

Sharapova dispatched the top seed and world No.3 64 63 to stay on course for her third straight victory at the indoor clay court event.

Defeat to Radwanska, who was in Fed Cup action for Poland last weekend, would have seen her drop out of the top-10 for the first time in three years.

"It's a big win for me," Sharapova told reporters in Stuttgart. "Probably the biggest since my injury."

Sharapova was out of action for much of the second half of last season with a right shoulder problem.

Her semi-final opponent is Italy's Sara Errani, who advanced as Carla Suarez Navarro retired with a wrist injury with their match poised at one set all.

The other semi-final sees the battle of former world number ones Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic.

Read: Nadal suffers shock Monte Carlo defeat

Read: Novak Djokovic to become a father

Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
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.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
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.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"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.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.