Australian Open: Day Nadal’s magic failed him
YESTERDAY marked the beginning of the second and final week of the Australian Open and it was a day many top players would live to remember. The match of the day was the thrilling encounter between Tomas Berdych, the number seven seed and number three seed, Rafael Nadal.
It was one of the worst defeats Nadal has suffered in his professional career, as he was bagelled in the second set.
Berdych came into the match with an astonishing 17-streak loss to Nadal, as he had never won a match against the Spanish Bull. If Rafa had won the match yesterday, he would have set a record for the most wins against a single player in the Open era. But Berdych was not ready to allow such to happen. From the beginning of the game, he overpowered Nadal with his deep, penetrating groundstrokes. His serves and returns worked perfectly for him.
He served 10 aces to Rafa’s three. He had no double faults, while Rafa racked up six before the match came to an end. Berdych had more wins on his first and second serves than Nadal and double the number of winners Nadal had.
He won a lot of free points on receiving serves but the deal breaker had to be the Break Points converted. Berdych had 10 break point opportunities and converted five of those while Nadal had four opportunities but converted none.
Nadal was flat-footed throughout the match and never really settled until the third set, but it was too little, too late.
Berdych was on the brink of something huge and wasn’t about to let it go. He eventually took the match 6-2, 6-0, 7-6.
Other elite players that were favored to lift the trophy also fell by the wayside, all in straight sets.
Ekaterina Makarova was the first to begin the upsets. Her early morning match saw her swatting aside the number three seed in straight sets that left many fans and spectators in shock. From the beginning till the end of the match, Halep looked uncomfortable, over her head and never really settled into the match and she paid dearly for it.
Maria Sharapova sent rising star, Eugenie Bouchard packing in a straight set win. Many fans and pundits had waited in great anticipation for the match, dubbing it the match of the day but were bitterly disappointed as Sharapova’s experience proved too much for Bouchard.
In an earlier interview, she had reiterated that she was a slam contender to be taken seriously and she proved that today. With this victory, she set up a mouth-watering clash with fellow compatriot, Makarova, who stunned Halep earlier.