‘Not my day’: Rafa Nadal succumbs to Tomas Berdych, looking like it might be his moment

Tomas Berdych continued through the Australian Open on Tuesday without having dropped a set, advancing past Rafael Nadal to the semi-finals 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5).

Tomas Berdych celebrates after beating Rafael Nadal to advance to the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday in Melbourne. Filip Singer / EPA / January 27, 2015
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Czech Tomas Berdych ended a demoralising run of outs to dump a struggling Rafael Nadal out of the Australian Open in a straight sets triumph to reach the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The seventh seed finally mastered the Spanish 14-time grand slam champion 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5) in 2hr 13min and will face either Britain’s Andy Murray or Australian Nick Krygios for a place in the final.

It ended a record-equalling 17-match winning run Nadal had over Berdych, who claimed his second consecutive semi-final appearance in Melbourne after losing to Stan Wawrinka last year.

Only Bjorn Borg over Vitas Gerulaitis and Ivan Lendl against Tim Mayotte had chalked up 17-match head-to-head winning streaks on the ATP Tour.

“I was definitely ready for it and set up my plan pretty well and I stuck with that through those three sets,” Berdych said.

“I was expecting a very tough battle but I was ready for everything and I think that was the biggest thing from the past matches with Rafa.

“I started pretty well, but you are playing Rafa and you have to keep going until the last point.”

Nadal’s miserable performance was just statistically better than his worst grand slam result. He won only eight games, two more than the six games he took off Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final at the 2009 US Open.

The world No 3 also failed to win a game in the second set for his first “bagel” at a grand slam since against Roger Federer in the 2006 Wimbledon final and Andy Roddick in the second round at the 2004 US Open.

It was a big start to the new season for Berdych and his new coach Dani Vallverdu, who formerly was part of the Andy Murray team.

“We set up the right tactics. Then I was able to execute that on the court. That’s what I’m really happy about,” said Berdych, who hit 46 winners and won 82 per cent of his first serves.

“I was playing a really good game. But I just need to look forward. The tournament is still long way to go.”

Nadal, who won the Australian title in 2009 and was a beaten finalist last year, looked out of sorts and his serve was broken five times to fall behind two sets to love.

Berdych swooped on the misfiring Spaniard, reeling off a backhand return winner for the second set after just one hour on court.

Nadal lost nine straight games before he held service in the second game of the third set, with plenty of concerned looks in his player box courtside as the errors kept flowing off his racquet.

“I am feeling okay, it was just not my day. I didn’t play with the right intensity, with the right rhythm, and the opponent played better than me,” Nadal said.

“I helped him a lot in the beginning. It’s easier to play well when you are up in the score, one break up, two breaks up from the beginning of every set. That’s a big deal, big difference.”

Nadal competed more in the third set which went to a tiebreaker but Berdych’s sledgehammer forehand was decisive.

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