6:27 am - Saturday November 14, 2015

Australian Open: Tomas Berdych shocks Rafael Nadal in quarter-final; ends 17-match hoodoo against Spaniard

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‘Clay King’ Rafael Nadal suffered a straight-sets quarterfinal loss against Czech tennis ace Tomas Berdych, who ended a 17-match losing streak against the Spaniard to reach the Australian Open semifinals.

Seventh seed Berdych thrashed Nadal 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) and would next face Andy Murray or Nick Kyrgios in the last four. An 18th successive defeat for Berdych would have helped Nadal set a new record for men’s tennis.

Berdych, who began working with Murray’s former coach Dani Vallverdu at the end of 2014, said that it feels ‘great’, adding that the ‘really good thing is the plan that they put together was the right one’, the BBC reported.

Berdych claimed that everything was ‘working’ and he was able to ‘execute it really well’, but added that still, until the last point ‘one cannot think about anything else’. Nine years after his last victory against the 14-time Grand Slam champion, Berdych took full advantage of Nadal, who was struggling desperately to find his game. Nadal was playing only his 12th match since Wimbledon last summer, and his first against a top-10 opponent since he beat Novak Djokovic in the French Open final in June. The Spaniard insisted that there had been ‘no physical issues’, saying it was ‘just not his day’, but added that ‘one cannot expect to win matches in quarterfinals of a Grand Slam helping the opponent to play well’.

Nadal claimed that that’s what he did the first two sets, adding that from the beginning of the third, he played with ‘more character’. A wrist injury and appendicitis decimated the second half of 2014 for the Spaniard and the lack of big matches told in dramatic style on Tuesday.

However, Nadal claimed that without being at his ‘top level of tennis’ he was there in the quarterfinals, adding that it’s not a ‘bad result’ at all for him arriving there the way he arrived, only with one match in 2015, and only with five matches in seven months.

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