Rafael Nadal beaten by Tomas Berdych at Australian Open

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Melbourne Park
'Very bad' display frustrates Nadal
Australian Open 2015
Dates: 19 January-1 February Venue: Melbourne Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, selected live text commentaries and daily reports on the BBC Sport website

Tomas Berdych ended a 17-match losing streak against Rafael Nadal as he outplayed the Spaniard to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

The Czech, seeded seventh, won 6-2 6-0 7-6 (7-5) and will face Andy Murray in the last four.

Berdych, 29, began working with Murray's former coach Dani Vallverdu at the end of 2014.

An 18th successive defeat by third seed Nadal would have set a new record for men's tennis.

"It feels great," said Berdych. "The really good thing is the plan that we put together was the right one.

"Everything was working. I was able to execute it really well. But still, until the last point you can't think about anything else.

"When it's done, it's done. It's great. I might be think about it and enjoy the time until tomorrow morning. When I wake up, I need to get myself ready for another one. There is a still long way to go in this tournament and I need to be ready for it."

Tomas Berdych
Tomas Berdych's last victory over Rafael Nadal came in 2006 at the ATP Masters Series in Madrid

Nine years after his last victory against the 14-time Grand Slam champion, Berdych took full advantage of an opponent struggling desperately to find his game.

Nadal, 28, was playing only his 12th match since Wimbledon last summer, and his first against a top-10 opponent since he beat Novak Djokovic in the French Open final in June.

He insisted there had been no physical issues, saying it was "just not my day", but added: "You cannot expect to win matches in quarter-finals of a Grand Slam helping the opponent to play well.

"That's what I did the first two sets. From the beginning of the third, I played with more character.

"More the way that I have to play to be where I want to be, where I have been for the last lot of years."

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller analysis
"Nadal considers reaching the quarter-finals to be "not a bad result at all," and it has certainly been a solid start to the year for a man who only played seven matches in the second half of 2014, and recently underwent appendix surgery. Berdych played a very strong match for the whole two hours and didn't let any self doubt creep in when Nadal started to rev up in the third set."

A wrist injury and appendicitis decimated the second half of 2014 for the Spaniard and the lack of big matches told in dramatic style on Tuesday.

He won just two games in the first hour of play, failing to register a single point behind his second serve and underpowered on his usually fearsome forehand.

Berdych was attacking Nadal's serve at will and dominant on his own, apparently cruising to victory, but there was a spark of life from the 2009 champion.

Finally fired up, Nadal found some big serves to fend off three breaks points and then two match points in the third set as Berdych moved to within touching distance of a landmark win.

Longest men's winning streaks
Bjorn Borg 17-0 Vitas Gerulaitis (1974-1981)
Ivan Lendl 17-0 Tim Mayotte (1980-1990)
Ivan Lendl 17-0 Jimmy Connors (1984-1992)
Rafael Nadal 17-0 Tomas Berdych (2007-2014)

The Czech appeared certain to reach his second successive Melbourne semi-final when he raced 5-1 clear in the tie-break, but back came Nadal once again to heap on the pressure at 5-4 and 6-5.

Faced with a fourth match point on his own serve, Berdych faltered with his first attempt only to fire down his biggest second serve of the tournament, leaving Nadal helpless.

"Without being at my top level of tennis I was able to be here in the quarter-finals," added Nadal.

"It's not a bad result at all for me arriving here the way I arrived: only with one match [in 2015], only with five matches in seven months."

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