Melbourne - Czech Tomas Berdych stunned out-of-sorts third seed Rafael Nadal in straight
sets to reach the semi-finals at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
The seventh seed beat 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 Kyrgios for a place in the final.
It ended a 17-match winning run Nadal had over Berdych, who claimed his
second consecutive semi-final appearance in Melbourne after losing to Stanislas
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.
Nadal's performance was so ordinary that he narrowly avoided crashing to his
worst Grand Slam result on the number of games won. He won only six games
against Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final at the 2009 US Open.
The world number three 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.
This was the 30th Grand Slam since he was 'bagelled' by Federer nine years
"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, who won the Australian title in 2009, looked out of sorts and his
serve was broken five times to fall behind two sets to love.
Berdych swooped on the limp 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.
He got back into the third set which went to a tiebreaker but Berdych's big
forehand proved too strong.
Results from day nine of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Tuesday:
Tomas Berdych (CZE x7) bt Rafael Nadal (ESP x3) 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7/5)
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x10) bt Simona Halep (ROU x3) 6-4, 6-0
Maria Sharapova (RUS x2) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN x7) 6-3, 6-2