Melbourne, Jan 20 (IANS) Rafael Nadal pounded former Australian Open semi-finalist Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-1, 7-6(4) on Sunday to book his place in the Australian Open quarterfinals for the 11th time.
The 2009 champion was at his aggressive best and claimed the first nine games of the match against the World No 57, reports Efe news.
He dominated the first two sets. And while Berdych raised his game in the third, he could not deter the Spaniard, who wrapped up the game in 2 hours and 5 minutes.
“He had one of these days where he wasn’t on his game,” said Nadal after the match.
“I expected in the third set that he would push me, and he had his chances, even had a set point. That was a very real set, more than the first two, and I’m very happy to be in the quarter-finals again,” added the Spaniard, who is recovering from an ankle injury.
“I always say the same – when I am back from injuries, I don’t expect anything. I just try to do my work every day and be with the right attitude every single day. When you are back, you need a bit of luck at the beginning, because the first couple of matches are important, and I won them. Now we’re in the quarter-finals, so we’ll see what happens now.”
Berdych held his own in the third, staying with the Spaniard for the first 11 games and leading 4-3 in the ensuing tiebreak but he was no match for the 17-time Grand Slam champion, who blasted out his 31st winner to reach match point.
Nadal will now play against Frances Tiafoe, who ousted Grigor Dimitrov on his 21st birthday on Sunday.
“He’s playing great – he won a couple of great matches, he’s super-quick, and he’s able to change direction fast,” Nadal said of Tiafoe.
“He comes to the net, and he has a huge forehand and serve. It’s always special when you meet an opponent for the first time, and in the quarter-finals there is only one way to play – very well,” he added.