Australian Open: Nadal overcomes Berdych, to meet Federer in semis (Roundup)

January 24th, 2012 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael Nadal Melbourne, Jan 24 (IANS) Rafael Nadal set up a semifinal clash against arch-rival Roger Federer at the Australian Open after beating Tomas Berdych in a gruelling men’s singles last eight match here Tuesday.

Second seed Nadal came from behind to get past the seventh seed from Czech Republic in a 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 battle that lasted four hours and 16 minutes. Third seed Federer advanced to the semifinals defeating Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 and ensured a date with long-time rival Nadal, who beat him here in the final of the 2009 edition.

Women’s World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki’s hopes of winning her first Grand Slam title were dashed again as she lost to defending champion Kim Clijsters in another quarterfinal.

The crowd at Rod Laver Arena got their money’s worth while watching the Nadal-Berdych quarterfinal which was also the last singles match of day nine of the tournament.

Both matched each other stroke to stroke before Nadal’s resilience once again bailed him out of trouble.

In the women’s singles, Clijsters, who had never previously beaten a top-ranked player at a Grand Slam, claimed a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory to cruise into the semifinals in one hour and 45 minutes.

For Wozniacki, the loss not only means she is out of the tournament but also that she will surrender her No.1 ranking next Monday.

The Belgian, who sprained her left ankle in her fourth-round win over fifth seed Li Na, did not appear to be affected by the injury against Wozniacki.

“Kim started off really strong. She put pressure on me from the beginning,” Wozniacki said.

“I made a few unforced errors and she ran away a bit in the first set. But I hung in there and kept fighting. I did what I could, but today it wasn’t enough. Obviously, it is never fun to lose, but you learn more from your losses than you do from your wins. I will keep working hard and come back better.”

The match started with three service breaks. The 28-year-old Clijsters dictated play from fourth game which she held and rallied to seal the opening set.

The match seemed to be beyond Wozniacki’s reach when Clijsters surged to a 3-1 advantage in the second set and took an upper hand in the fifth game. But Wozniacki, who was criticised for holding the No.1 spot without winning a major, won the next two points to break Clijsters, and then held the next game to level the set.

Clijsters hit a backhand down the line to take a 5-4 lead. She set up a double match point with a cross-court forehand winner and sealed it with a volley.

The four-time major winner Clijsters next plays third-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who posted a 6-7 (0-7), 6-0, 6-2 win over No.8 Agnieszka Radwanska earlier in the day for her second Grand Slam semifinal.

–Indo-Asian New Service

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