Rafael Nadal, the current world number three, is out of the Australian Open after losing to seventh-ranked Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in straight sets in their quarter final match on Tuesday.
Berdych, who beat the Spaniard for the first time in 18 attempts, scored a 6-2 6-0 7-6(5) victory, while forcing his opponent deep behind the baseline. In the opening set, Berdych broke Nadal’s service twice and took the set in 35 minutes. Nadal, who has 14 Grand Slams and is a former world number one, was not given a chance to settle in as Berdych swept through the second set in only 25 minutes.
However, Nadal fought back in the third set, saving two match points in the twelfth game, but Berdych emerged victorious after a tie-breaker. Berdych will now play against either Andy Murray or Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final.
“You are playing Rafa and you have to really keep going until the last point. No matter what the score is, you just had to be there and be ready for everything,” ABC News quoted Berdych as saying after the match.
Nadal had said before the tournament that he was unlikely to win the title because of his lack of fitness, after suffering from injuries and illness toward the end of 2014. Before coming into the 2015 Australian Open, Nadal had played only eight matches since last June, ESPN reported.