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Nadal hadn't lost an opening match at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in three-and-a-half years when, in Montreal, he the faced little-known Croat Ivan Dodig.
True, Dodig had been having a breakthrough season, but he had not been anywhere remotely close to challenging a champion like Nadal. As expected, Dodig looked like a complete rookie after a fiery start by Nadal. When Nadal won nine of the first 11 games, and was leading 6-1, 3-1, the match, for all practical purposes, appeared over.
But someone forgot to tell Dodig that.
Showing a Nadal-like resilience, Dodig played a sensational game to get himself back on serve. He served lights out in the tiebreak and sent the match into an improbable third set.
Normality appeared to have resumed when Nadal jumped up an early break and served for the match at 5-3. But Dodig would not be denied. Breaking Nadal back, he forced another tiebreak, and through sheer willpower and determination, eked out a stunning but richly deserved win. Dodig, the first hurdle of the masters, sent the 2008 champion tumbling.