Sports

Berdych stuns Nadal, Murray tops Kyrgios in Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Tomas Berdych picked a good time to end his lengthy losing streak to Rafael Nadal, while Andy Murray continued his run toward another Australian Open final.

Tuesday's first men's quarterfinal was never close and the second wasn't much more competitive.

Berdych became the first player to stamp his ticket into the semifinals following a shocking 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) win over the second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal at the year's first Grand Slam event.

Murray, a three-time Aussie Open runner-up, then dispatched 19-year-old Aussie crowd favorite Nick Kyrgios, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

The third-seeded Nadal was able to fend off a pair of match points in his final service game of the third set, but was unable to overcome a 2-5 deficit in the tiebreak. With the No. 7 seed Berdych up 6-5, Nadal sent the backhand of Berdych's serve into the net and the Czech officially put his straight-set triumph into the books.

Berdych had dropped 17 consecutive matches to last year's Aussie Open finalist Nadal, a streak that dated back to 2007. He also reached his second straight Aussie semi.

The big-hitting Berdych had been 3-18 lifetime against Nadal, including a loss in the 2010 Wimbledon final.

Nadal owns 14 major titles, including a lone Aussie championship in 2009. He's also a two-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, including last year against Stan Wawrinka.

"It just was not my day," said Nadal. "I didn't play with the right intensity, with the right rhythm, and the opponent played better than me. You have to play well to win against a player like Tomas. I didn't play my best today. He played better than me and that's it. That's sport.

"Sometimes, almost every time, it is simple: the player who plays better, the player who is able to maintain the better rhythm, the better concentration, play with less mistakes, is the player who has more success. And today this player has been Tomas."

Meanwhile, Murray was in command throughout against Kyrgios and didn't face a break point against his serve until the seventh game of the third set. He advanced to the semifinals for the fifth time in the last six years, bouncing back from a quarterfinal loss to Roger Federer last year.

The sixth-seeded Scot broke for a 4-2 lead in the first set and won a tight tiebreak in the second before breaking serve for another 4-2 lead in the third. Kyrgios finally answered with a break, but Murray responded with one of his own for a 5-3 advantage and held serve to finish the match in just over two hours.

"I'm happy. It's nice to be in the latter stages of a slam again," said Murray. "I'm happy with that. Obviously we want to do the best possible, but all you can do is prepare as best you can, which I certainly did over the past few weeks and months, and have given myself an opportunity. Maybe I won't play well in a couple of days; maybe I play great. I don't know. But I've given myself a good opportunity again, and hopefully I can use it to my advantage."

The two-time Grand Slam champion Murray will meet Berdych in the semis.

Men's quarterfinal play will continue Wednesday. The fourth-seeded defending Melbourne champion Wawrinka will face fifth-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori and the evening match will feature four-time Aussie winner Novak Djokovic against eighth-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic.

"Obviously, if he serves as well as he does, 20, 30 aces average per match, puts a lot of pressure on the opponent's serve," Djokovic said of Raonic. "You take a chance, you double fault, the set is gone. These kind of matches are very challenging mentally for us to play against servers like that."

Djokovic is a perfect 4-0 versus Raonic, while Wawrinka is 2-1 lifetime against Nishikori, although the Japanese star captured their last meeting in the U.S. Open quarterfinals back in September.

The world No. 1 Djokovic is the reigning Wimbledon champion who is seeking an eighth Grand Slam title. He captured three straight Aussie crowns from 2011-13.