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Australian Open 2019: Rafael Nadal thrashes Berdych to cruise through to the quarter-final

2019 Australian Open - Day 7
2019 Australian Open - Day 7

After facing three Australians in a row, it was time for Rafael Nadal’s biggest challenge yet as he squared off against a resurgent Tomas Berdych, who defeated the Spaniard in the same arena in 2015.

But this time, it was all Nadal as he simply crushed Berdych in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1, 7-6(5), in a masterful display to march into the last eight at the 2019 Australian Open.

Nadal, after a little wobble in the opening game where he had to save a break point, pounced on the Berdych serve straightaway, and with a couple of aggressive returns, got the early break.

Berdych had absolutely no rhythm on serve as he struggled to land the first delivery more often than not, and with that, got himself engaged in long exchanges with the Spaniard and there was only one winner coming out of those.

And in under just half an hour, Nadal served up a bagel to the Czech, losing just 10 points in the whole set.

The beginning of the second set was more of the same as Berdych continued in failing to put in first serves and Nadal raced to a 2-0 lead.

Though Berdych finally got on the scoreboard after losing nine games on the trot, Nadal never took his foot off the pedal as he broke the Czech’s serve once again, and soon, took a two-set lead after just over an hour of play.

In the third set, Berdych started playing much better as he managed to dictate play on his serve with the help of his big forehand. But he still wasn’t able to get anywhere near Nadal’s serve as the Spaniard got three consecutive love holds to start the set.

Then in the middle of the set, Nadal went down 15-30 in two consecutive service games but managed to hold on with some timely first serves to Berdych’s backhand wing.

Then at 5-6, Nadal got into trouble one more time as Berdych managed to engineer a set point. But once again, the Spaniard somehow got out of the sticky situation with a couple of aggressive points and took the set to a tiebreaker.

In the breaker, the first six points went to the server without any fuss, but at 3-3, Berdych connected a backhand return and extracted an error out of Nadal to go ahead a mini-break.

The lead didn’t last long though, as the Czech played two very poor points after that, making two unnecessary unforced errors and handed the advantage back to the world no.2.

And Nadal, as ever, took care of things on his end and closed out the match with ease to enter the quarter-final without the loss of a single set.

In the quarter-final, he will face the 21-year-old American, Frances Tiafoe, who went past Grigor Dimitrov in four thrilling sets, 7-5, 7-6(6), 6-7(1), 7-5, to enter the last eight of a major for the first time in his young career.

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Edited by Gopal Mishra
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