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Australian Open Sport Tennis

Berdych hammers Nadal, Sharapova eases past Bouchard

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic is ecstatic after defeating Rafael Nadal by three sets to nil

Tomas Berdych played arguably the grand slam quarter-final of his life to end the longest losing streak on the ATP Tour with a 6-2 6-0 7-6(5) victory over Rafa Nadal and advance to the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.

Berdych, who beat the virtually unstoppable and then six-times champion Roger Federer in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2010, had not beaten Nadal in 17 successive matches, tied for the record as the longest losing streak to another player.

The seventh-seed started like a runaway train against the 14-times grand slam champion, forcing him deep behind the baseline and painting the tramlines as every shot he attempted appeared to come off.

Berdych won the opening set for the first time in a run of seven matches against Nadal, then swept through the second in 25 minutes and despite a third-set fightback by the Spaniard, the damage was done and the Czech moved into a semi-final against either Andy Murray or Nick Kyrgios.

“I was definitely ready for it,” Berdych said in a courtside interview. “I set up my plan pretty well and stuck with it through the three sets.

“I was expecting a tough battle but I was ready for everything and that was the difference.”

Third seed Nadal had said prior to the tournament that he doubted whether he was mentally or physically ready to challenge for the title after injury and illness hampered the second half of 2014.

The 28-year-old Spaniard also suffered from dehydration, cramping and upset stomach to overcome qualifier Tim Smyczek in the second round but had looked imperious in his destruction of 14th-seed Kevin Anderson in the fourth round.

Nadal was clutching at his hamstring throughout the early stages of the match and did not seem at his usual pugnacious scrambling best, though Berdych had also upped his aggression level and used his booming serve to maximum effect.

The Spaniard recovered in the third set and saved two match points at 6-5 to force it into a tiebreak before Berdych sealed it on his fourth match point to advance into his second successive Melbourne Park semi-final.

AUSTRALIA TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN GRAND SLAMMaria Sharapova showcased all of her canny experience and brutal efficiency as she gave Eugenie Bouchard a 78-minute tennis lesson to advance to the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Bouchard reached the last four in Australia and France as well as the Wimbledon final in 2014 but was no match for Sharapova, who showed she was not ready to be usurped by the younger generation just yet in a 6-3 6-2 victory.

The 27-year-old has now beaten the Canadian in each of their four meetings, three of which have been at grand slams, and set up a meeting with 10th-seeded compatriot Ekaterina Makarova for a place in the final.

“I felt pretty good from the start (and) I kept my focus throughout the whole match,” Sharapova told reporters. “I didn’t feel that I had too many letdowns, which is important.

“When I did have a few slips I was able to come out with great first serves or really powerful returns.

“But overall really happy with the way the match went.”

Results from the Australian Open Women’s Singles Quarterfinal matches on Tuesday
2-Maria Sharapova (Russia) beat 7-Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) 6-3 6-2
10-Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) beat 3-Simona Halep (Romania) 6-4 6-0

Results from the Australian Open Men’s Singles Quarterfinal matches on Tuesday
6-Andy Murray (Britain) beat Nick Kyrgios (Australia) 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3
7-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) beat 3-Rafa Nadal (Spain) 6-2 6-0 7-6(5)

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