Rio de Janeiro: Multi-Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal suffered a surprise exit on his favourite clay court on Saturday as the Spanish tennis great lost to Pablo Cuevas 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 4-6 in the Rio Open men’s singles semi-finals here.

Uruguayan Cuevas clinched his first victory over the top seed in three attempts on Saturday. Nadal, the 14-time Grand Slam winner, was also beaten in the semifinals in Buenos Aires a week ago, also on clay, reports Xinhua.

In the final, Cuevas will meet Argentine Guido Pella, who overcame Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-4. Thiem, 22, lifted the Buenos Aires title a week ago after he beat the 29-year-old Nadal in the semis.

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For Nadal, who used to be nearly unbeatable on the surface, the clay court title total remains at 47.

This is the consecutive semi-final defeats for Nadal, who failed to win a grand slam title last year for the first time since 2004.