There will be no repeat of last year's final at the Australian Open, after the 2014 runner-up Rafael Nadal was put to the sword today by the number seven seed, Tomas Berdych in straight sets. The number three seed, Nadal only really rallied in the third set after being blitzed in the first two, but failed to win the tie-break and hence went out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage.

Nadal has been walking something of a tightrope one feels during this event, as he continues to look for his best form after a relatively disappointing end to 2014 on the tour. In his opponent Berdych, there was a player who had to overcome all thoughts of his previous seventeen-match losing streak against the stocky Spaniard, yet to his great credit he achieved that target in style.

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Indeed, the 'albatross around his neck' was so potent going into the match, that another defeat would have given him the unwanted record for a losing streak against one player on the men's tour.

Seemingly aware of that potential distinction, Berdych cruised through the first two sets for the loss of just two games, with a humiliating 'bagel' to boot for Nadal in the second (6-0). The third set shaped up into a much tighter affair as had been expected for the entire match, but Nadal could not quite turn the tide and lost it eventually by seven points to five in the tie-break.

The Czech's victory sets him up to face Britain's Andy Murray in the semi-finals, an intriguing contest potentially, with just one ranking place between the two quality players. Neither player has ever won the title in Australia, with Murray having lost in three previous finals and Berdych now into his second semi-final in a row at the first Slam of the year.

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Berdych is still chasing his first Grand Slam title, having lost in the final at Wimbledon in 2010, the furthest he has progressed at any of the Slams.

The head to head between the two players does not make good reading for Murray as he trails 4-6 in victories between the two, having lost on the last two occasions they played back in 2013. However, their hard court matches are all-square with three wins apiece, so the match could go either way on that basis.

Murray will be well aware of the abilities of Berdych's current coach, Dani Vallverdu, having previously also worked with him. #Celebrities #Tennis