Written by Reuters
20 Jan, 2019 | 5:27 pm
Reuters- Rafa Nadal routed Tomas Berdych 6-0 6-1 7-6(4) in a centre court masterclass to charge into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday (January 20). The 2009 champion was relentless at Rod Laver Arena, claiming the first two sets in an astonishing 51 minutes and firing 32 winners past the hapless Czech to reach the last eight at Melbourne Park for the 11th time.
Spaniard Nadal, who avenged his defeat to the former world number four in the quarter-final of the 2015 tournament, sealed the win on his first match point when the Czech hammered into the net. Bidding for an 18th Grand Slam title, second seed Nadal will play unseeded American Frances Tiafoe for a place in the semi-finals.
Ashleigh Barty rallied from a set down to beat former world number one Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-1 6-4, becoming the first Australian woman in a decade to reach the quarter-finals at her home Grand Slam.
Sharapova, a five-times Grand Slam champion, looked in control after converting her third break point in the ninth game of the first set and following it up with a service hold to love to take the opening stanza. But Barty, roared on by raucous support at Rod Laver Arena, fought back to break twice in the second set and level the match as unforced errors crept into the Russian’s game.
Barty broke Sharapova twice for a 4-0 lead in the decider and while the 2008 champion fought back to win three straight games it was not enough to stop the 22-year-old becoming the first Australian woman to reach the quarters since Jelena Dokic in 2009. Barty will meet twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals.
Unseeded American Danielle Collins took less than an hour to thrash 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-0 6-2 and power her way into the quarter-finals. The 25-year-old Collins, ranked 35th in the world, breezed through the opening set in 20 minutes with three service breaks, hitting winners on all sides of the court against the second seed, who had five double faults in the set.
After an early trade of breaks in the second set, Collins smashed a backhand to break Kerber’s serve and take a 4-2 lead, before breaking the German once again to seal victory on her first match point in 56 minutes. Collins, making her first appearance in the main draw at Melbourne Park, will next play either fifth seed Sloane Stephens or Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who meet in the last match of the evening.
Twice Wimbledon champion Kvitova steamrolled American teenager Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-1 to sail into the quarter-finals after a year in the Grand Slam wilderness. The eighth-seed dominated Anisimova’s serve in the early match at Rod Laver Arena and smacked 18 winners to end the 17-year-old’s fairytale run at Melbourne Park after less than an hour.
Lefthander Kvitova booked her first quarter-final appearance in Melbourne since her run to the 2012 semi-finals and first at a Grand Slam since the 2017 U.S. Open. American Frances Tiafoe celebrated his 21st birthday by stunning Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 7-6(6) 6-7(1) 7-5.
Tiafoe, the last American man standing at Melbourne Park, fended off four early break points in a sluggish start before taking his own opportunities on Dimitrov’s serve to claim the opening set. Former Melbourne semi-finalist Dimitrov had three sets points to draw level but Tiafoe refused to wilt under the pressure and reeled off five straight points to move two sets ahead.
Dimitrov, who has slipped just outside the top 20 in the world after early exits in his last three Grand Slams appearances, dug deep to fight his way back, claiming the third set in another tiebreak. But Tiafoe was back on top in the fourth set, clinching a decisive break in the 11th game before serving out to seal a quarter-final against either Rafa Nadal or Tomas Berdych.
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