Rafael Nadal won at least one Major title in ten consecutive seasons between 2005 and 2014, setting a record that is unlikely to be beaten. After Wimbledon 2014, the Spaniard only played seven matches because to injuries, which caused him to lose steam before the new season.
In 2015, Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals of both the Australian Open and the Indian Wells tournaments, helped along by a brief ATP victory on clay at the start of March. Nadal was deposed by Andy Murray in Madrid, and he suffered just his second Roland Garros defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal.
Due to his victories in Stuttgart and Hamburg, Rafa just managed to hang onto his spot in the top-10 for the following few months. Prior to the North American hard-court swing, Nadal did his best to get in shape, but it did not work out. In Montreal, Nadal defeated Mikhail Youzhny and Sergiy Stakhovsky to advance to the round of eight, where he will face fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori in a match for the semifinal.
It was their seventh encounter on the Tour, and the Japanese took the lead for the first time. In an hour and 23 minutes, he defeated the Spaniard 6-2, 6-4 to go to the semifinals. The most effective weapon of the day turned out to be Kei’s first serve.
He stopped two of the three attempts at a break and increased the pressure on the opposing side. Rafa blasted six double faults and did little after the first shot, getting broken four times from the same number of opportunities that Kei was given and hitting the exit door.
In Canada in 2015, Rafael Nadal was defeated in straight sets by Kei Nishikori.
In the second game of the match, Nishikori scored two outstanding wins to put his name on the scoreboard. A few minutes later, he pounced on an opportunity to take the lead and gain momentum.
Kei was playing at his absolute best as he earned another break in game five and won the first set with a forehand winner at 5-2, looking for more in the second set. At 1-1, Nadal committed a double error, which resulted in a break and put him down 6-2, 3-1.
Nishikori put a return winner down as he raced to the finish line to earn another break and create a 4-1 lead. He increased his lead in game six before Nadal recovered one break to tie the match at 2-5. With a forehand crosscourt winner in game nine, Rafa held at 15, cutting the lead to 5-4 and forcing the opponent to serve for the win a second time.
The following game saw Kei paint a forehand winner to seal the victory and defeat Rafa for the first time in his career. By the time of the Canada Masters, Nadal had not won the Masters 1000 championship since his previous season in 2004. Despite strong performances in Shanghai and Paris, the rest of the season did not get any better.