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Nadal crashes at first hurdle

WORLD No2 Rafael Nadal was dumped out of the ATP World Tour Finals at the earliest opportunity last night after another straight-sets defeat at London&rsquo;s O2 Arena.<br /><br />The Spaniard, who has struggled with injuries this season, only showed his trademark grit in the closing stages of a 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) defeat to Russia&rsquo;s Nikolay Davydenko.<br /><br />Victory for world No7 Davydenko means he will join Robin Soderling in the semi-finals if he beats the Swede in tomorrow&rsquo;s final round of Group B matches.<br /><br />Davydenko raced through a first set in which Nadal looked a shadow of the player who won six Grand Slam titles before turning 23 earlier this year. The Mallorcan recovered his fighting spirit in the second set, twice coming from a break down to force a tie-break. <br /><br />But it proved to be only a stay of execution, as Davydenko shook off his nerves to clinch a memorable win.<br /><br />Soderling earlier earned his place in the semi-finals with a shock straight-sets defeat of world No3 Novak Djokovic. <br /><br />The world No9, who stunned Nadal in similar fashion on Monday, edged the first set before sweeping to victory 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.<br /><br />Britain&rsquo;s Andy Murray, meanwhile, needs to beat Spain&rsquo;s Fernando Verdasco today and hope that Roger Federer beats Juan Martin del Potro in order to reach the last four.