Nadal fumes at chair umpire for untimely penalty

Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:56am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A ruffled Rafa Nadal fumed after being called for multiple time violations but composed himself to fend off a gallant Kei Nishikori and reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday with a tense 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) win.

Nadal's fidgeting, shorts-tugging preparation before serves is a famous quirk of the Spaniard's game but it fell foul of watchful Greek umpire Evanthia Asderaki, and at exactly the wrong moment.

With the third set locked at 4-4 and deuce, the world number one's breach of the 20-second time limit saw him forfeit his first serve and throw away the ball in disgust in a rare loss of composure at Rod Laver Arena.

Nishikori duly won the next two points to capture the break and leave the Spaniard muttering as he trudged back to his chair, throwing a withering look at Asderaki.

Clearly fired up, Nadal struck back the next game to put the match back on serve and punished the profligate Nishikori in the tiebreak to set up a quarter-final against red-hot 22-year-old Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal later complained that he had been given no warning before being slapped with the second time violation.

"The rules say you can do it, but in my opinion that goes against the show, that goes against the fans," the top seed told reporters after closing out an attritional match in three hours and 16 minutes.

"The rules are there, sometimes I accept the rules, sometimes I am wrong.   Continued...

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning the second set of his men's singles match against Kei Nishikori of Japan at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 20, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic