Australian Open: Rafael Nadal beats Tomas Berdych to reach quarter-finals

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has reached at least the quarter-finals in 11 of his past 12 appearances in Melbourne
Australian Open 2019
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-27 January
Coverage: Daily live commentaries on the BBC Sport website, listen to Tennis Breakfast daily from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and watch highlights on BBC TV and online.

Second seed Rafael Nadal swept aside former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals without dropping a set.

Spain's Nadal, 32, beat Czech Berdych 6-0 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in Melbourne.

Berdych, unseeded but climbing back up the rankings after injury, had been expected to provide a sterner test.

But Nadal's relentless brilliance did not allow Berdych, who made too many unforced errors, to make it a contest until the third set.

"He made more mistakes than usual. The third set was a real set after the first two," said Nadal.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion looks in great shape as he aims to become the first man to win each of the four Grand Slams twice in the Open era.

His only previous triumph at Melbourne Park came in 2009.

Berdych caused an upset at this tournament three years ago when he beat Nadal in straight sets, ending a run of 17 consecutive defeats against him.

But a repeat performance never looked on the cards as Nadal claimed victory in just over two hours.

The former world number one will play 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe, who beat Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, in the last eight.

Ruthless Nadal makes rapid start

Nadal came into the tournament having not played since the US Open following a catalogue of injuries, but has looked sharp - mentally and physically - in swatting off Australian trio James Duckworth, Matt Ebden and Alex de Minaur, plus now Berdych, to reach the last eight.

After Nadal ruthlessly snatched away a break point in the first game of the match with a stinging first serve, a disjointed Berdych had no more opportunities as the Spaniard took control.

A double fault brought up two break points for Nadal and, although he saved the first with a big forehand, Berdych lumped a backhand into the net on the second.

That set the tone for the first set, Berdych going on to commit nine more unforced errors compared to just three from Nadal.

The Spaniard grew more aggressive, winning 71% of second-serve points and cracking nine winners.

One of those included the forehand down the line which broke Berdych's serve for the third time - to love on this occasion - and gave him the first set after just 27 minutes.

Resistance too little and too late for Berdych

Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych
Rafael Nadal has won 20 of his 24 matches against Tomas Berdych

Berdych, 33, has dropped outside of the world's top 50 after injury, but came into the first Grand Slam of the year as a dangerous opponent in the men's singles draw.

British number one Kyle Edmund found that to his cost, as did Argentine 18th seed Diego Schwartzmann, But Berdych looked far short of that standard against Nadal.

He finally got on the board in the 10th game of the match to trail 3-1 in the second set, Nadal hitting into the net to leave the Czech raising his arm aloft in celebration and ruefully smiling as Rod Laver Arena tried to rouse him.

It was not enough to instigate a fightback though, Nadal breaking his serve again two games later on his way to wrapping up the second set in 34 minutes.

A hold to love started the third set brightly for Berdych and it was a sign he was finally going to provide some resistance.

After seeing off two break points in both the fifth and 11th games, he could not convert a set point in the 12th when Nadal served out wide and followed up with a forehand winner.

In the tie-break he also let a mini-break slip - then lost his cool while complaining about the serving shot-clock not working - as Nadal served out the win.

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