Berdych stuns Nadal at Australian Open

Tomáš Berdych, photo: CTK

Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has reached the semi-final of this year’s Australian Open, powering past Rafael Nadal in straight sets. In victory, Berdych snapped a 17 match losing streak against Nadal and will now face Great Britain’s Andy Murray.

Tomáš Berdych,  photo: CTK
Tomáš Berdych was aware he could make history for the wrong reasons: in the Open era, since 1968, no player has suffered 18 straight losses against the same opponent. But if he was worried, it didn’t show on Tuesday in Melbourne. Just the opposite, Berdych fully dominated and allowed Nadal just two games in two sets. The Spaniard fought back in the third, but it wasn’t enough: the final score was 6:2, 6:0, 7:6. Rafa told reporters at the official press conference afterwards Berdych had fully deserved to win and ruled out speculation he had been injured or unwell.

“I am feeling okay: it just was not my day. I did not play with the right intensity, the right rhythm. My opponent played better than me. That’s the way it goes in sport: this was a day when he played better.”

Berdych, with new coach Dani Vallverdu, who used to work with Andy Murray, didn’t reveal any secrets but said he had stuck with a strategy he and his trainer had outlined ahead of the match.

“I am glad I was able to stick with tactics we outlined ahead of the match. That is what’s the most important. I felt good after the previous match and this was the same. You can sit back and enjoy it – at most – only the evening and then you have to begin to plan for the next opponent because there is still a long way to go.”

Rafael Nadal,  photo: CTK
Berdych has reached the semi-final for the second straight year. He will face Andy Murray next, now coached by Amelie Mauresmo. It is worth noting that as a former long-time member of the Murray team, Dani Vallverdu, should have more than a few tips on the Scotsman. Retired player Jiří Novak agrees that could provide a curious twist.

“It could be interesting with Murray: Vallverdu worked with him for several years so it could help them take certain tactical steps. But every match begins at 0, so we’ll have to see.”

Berdych, long ranked seventh in the ATP standings, has enjoyed a strong career but has never yet won a Grand Slam title. Will the Aussie Open be his first?