| 15.5°C Dublin

Nadal crashes out as Berdych defies record losing streak

Close

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after defeating him in their men's singles quarter-final match at the Australian Open in Melbourne

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after defeating him in their men's singles quarter-final match at the Australian Open in Melbourne

REUTERS

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after defeating him in their men's singles quarter-final match at the Australian Open in Melbourne

Rafael Nadal is out of the Australian Open. The 14-time Grand Slam champion lost his quarter-final to No 7 seed Tomas Berdych in three punishing sets, 6-2 6-0 7-6.

It was Nadal's heaviest defeat at a major for more than five years, and Berdych's first victory over him in 18 attempts - his 17-match losing streak was the equal-longest in the professional era.

Nadal appeared to be struggling physically for most of the match, and was blown away in the first two sets in just an hour.

The third set was closer. Nadal dug in, appeared to be moving a little more freely, and tried to keep the points short.

But after squandering two match points at 6-5, Berdych took control of the tie-break and closed it out 7-5 to break one of the longest losing streaks in the history of professional tennis.

He will face Andy Murray in tomorrow's semi-final.

"I set up my plan pretty well and stuck with that all the way through the three sets," Berdych said. "I was ready for everything."

The main talking point will naturally be Nadal's ongoing fitness struggles, having played only eight matches since June because of an injury to his right wrist, followed by appendix surgery in November.

But nothing should detract from a glorious day for Berdych. Long regarded as one of the most talented players on the tour without a Grand Slam title, he did virtually everything right here: playing aggressively, finding the corners and serving well.

Murray silenced a 15,000-strong crowd on Rod Laver Arena by using all his experience to beat talented teenager Nick Kyrgios 6-3 7-6 (7/5) 6-3.

Maria Sharapova inflicted another Grand Slam reality check on Eugenie Bouchard and will play an all-Russian semi-final with Ekaterina Makaraova, who thrashed third seed Simona Halep. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk