Berdych ends Nadal tyranny, Murray charges on

Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:06am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Iron-willed Czech Tomas Berdych ended eight years of tyranny under nemesis Rafa Nadal to storm into the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday before his next opponent Andy Murray restored British colonial rule to the floodlit center court.

Maria Sharapova inflicted another grand slam reality check on Eugenie Bouchard and will play an all-Russian semi-final with plucky lefthander Ekaterina Makaraova, who thrashed third seed Simona Halep on a surprising day at Melbourne Park.

In the evening session, Murray struck back for the old guard, slapping down local teenager Nick Kyrgios 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3 to deflate home fans pumped up by the traditional sporting rivalry with former colonial masters Britain.

But it was Nadal's 6-2 6-0 7-6(5) humbling on an unseasonably cold summer's day that rocked Melbourne Park to its core and shook the biggest monkey in the men's game off the back of Berdych.

The big-serving Czech's 17-match losing streak to the Spaniard was the equal-longest in the professional era and snapping it was the result of a perfectly executed plan.

"Oh, it feels great," Berdych told reporters. "Everything was working. I was able to execute it really well."

In an intriguing twist, the man that helped Berdych create the master plan was Dani Vallverdu, Murray's former hitting partner and assistant coach, who parted ways with the Scot in November.

Now in Berdych's camp, Vallverdu will provide the intelligence for preparations against Murray.   Continued...

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic celebrates after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain in their men's singles quarter-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 27, 2015.   REUTERS/Thomas Peter