MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Tomas Berdych ruined local hopes of a massive Australia Day celebration on Monday when he hammered Bernard Tomic to advance to his fifth successive quarter-final at the season-opening grand slam on Sunday.
The Czech seventh seed, who announced his engagement to girlfriend Ester Satorova earlier this week, was in no mood to extend that sentimentality to the local fans cheering Tomic with a clinical 6-2 7-6(3) 6-2 victory to set up a last eight clash with nemesis Rafa Nadal.
“I just put myself in the best possible position right now,” Berdych said when asked how he felt facing Nadal, a man he has lost to 18 times in 21 matches and not beaten since 2006.
“I’m just really looking forward to it. I’m going to have to add something extra again. That’s how the tournament is developing, just move forward, just be ready for it.
“I’m feeling strong both like physically, mentally. Just looking forward to the match.”
While Berdych has finished the last five years ranked inside the top-10 and past nine years inside the top-20, he is yet to win a grand slam title.
His best chance came at Wimbledon in 2010, when he beat then six-times champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals and Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals but then lost to Nadal.
Berdych’s performance on Sunday indicated he could finally take that final step, something Tomic recognised as well.
“He’s an amazing player. When he’s playing good, you cannot do nothing,” the 22-year-old Australian said. “You just have to stick in the match and hopefully turn it around.
“Today he was just... going for his shots (and) there was not a lot I could do.
“He’s probably one player that I think hasn’t won a slam that should have won a couple.
“He’s a very, very good player.”
Berdych, however, was not getting ahead of himself and while he had just started working with Dani Vallverdu, who used to work with double grand slam winner Andy Murray, he was happy with where he was placed and how their partnership was working.
“We didn’t spend that much time together but the good thing is that I’m able to execute the things that he’s telling me what to do, how to set up for the matches,” Berdych said.
“So far it works pretty well. I think it’s definitely the advantage which I was surely looking for.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly