Rafael Nadal eased into another Australian Open quarterfinal with a 6-0, 6-1, 7-6(4) over Tomas Berdych, his 20th win over the Czech. He will face Frances Tiafoe in the quarterfinals, the American's first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance.
Running Of The Bull
Despite facing an early break point, it was the perfect start for Nadal. A forehand winner on the run gave him the opening on Berdych's opening service game with the Czech knocking a backhand into the net to fall behind. The set went from bad to worse with the world number two going up a double break.
The groundstrokes from Nadal were looking crisp and in full force. Berdych was doing his best to try and use his flat groundstrokes to push the Spaniard but too many errors were creeping in with the Czech getting shutout 27 minutes of the first set.
It was 9-0 run of games for Nadal to start the match until Berdych ended the rot with a hold of serve at 30. That game set up the Doha finalist well to ease into the match with that forehand on the Nadal serve. A few winners gave him a look in the game, but that was all he could do with the Spaniard dropping a singular game in the second set.
Let The Groove Get In
After a disappointing first two sets, Berdych found his groove on the serve. He didn't drop a single point in his first two service games and di well to hold off two break points from Nadal to go 3-2 up. The forehand from the world number two was still firing away, holding for three-all with no problems.
Outside of that third service game, the former Wimbledon finalist looked at ease. A mishit put Berdych in position to stay aggressive, just two points from the set. The world number two remained strong, holding serve for five-all.
Berdych fought off break points which would have put him on the sword's edge in this match. A couple of great set up shots allowed him to approach the net and force errors out of Nadal and closed out the 11th game with a winner. The Czech had set point, but Nadal answered with a trademark forehand winner. The world number two staved off Berdych's charge to force a tiebreak.
The Czech came through with the first mini-break of the tiebreak after an aggressive return set up a long backhand from Nadal. Berdych was upset with Nadal taking too long after going up 4-3 as well as the serve clock going off. Berdych chose a bad time to get frustrated, dropping his two points on serve with errors before Nadal closed it out in straights.