The first of the two men’s quarter-finals came to fruition following relatively straightforward contest for their respective participants, Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych. Now, following their impressive displays, the two competitors will cross paths for the 22nd time on the professional tour to determine who will advance to the final four in Melbourne. Nadal leads the head-to-head series 18-3 and has won the last 17 consecutive meetings dating back to 2006.
In arguably his best performance in recent memory, Tomas Berdych put on a clinic against Bernard Tomic to defeat the Aussie 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-2 and find his way into the quarter-final round of the tournament. Berdych hit 52 winners, 17 aces, and won 85% of his first service points to play a near-impenetrable game. He snuffed out any chances Tomic had to break serve and limited his ability to rally on points with some fantastic serving. The match lasted just over two hours and set Berdych up with his eighth consecutive quarter-final at the Australian Open – this time against former champion Rafael Nadal.
“I’m feeling very good. It’s been a great, great run so far. But, yeah, I just put myself in the best possible position right now. I’m just really looking forward to it. I’m going to have to, you know, add something extra again. I mean, that’s how the tournament is developing, just move forward, just be ready for it. You know, I’m feeling strong both like physically, mentally. Just looking forward to the match.”
The second men’s fourth round match saw Nadal dispatch South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in straight sets to make it evidently clear that he was back in competitive form. The win against Anderson was his highest ranked win since the French Open last season and cements his spot as one of the few players remaining in the draw that could be an imminent threat to the title. His performance overall was far cleaner than his earlier matches in Melbourne, as he struck more winners than unforced errors (33 to 25) and won 78% of his first service points to finish the match 7-5, 6-1, 6-1.
“Happy the way I played today. Is the first day that I felt that I was playing at the level that I want to play and the way that I want to play. Let’s have a chance to practice tomorrow, keep doing well the things I did today, and then try to arrive for the next match with the highest energy possible and try to be ready for it. I know it’s going to be very tough.”
This marks the 22nd time that Nadal and Berdych will cross paths on the professional tour, with Nadal leading the series 18-3. The Spaniard is also on a 17-match win streak against Berdych and will look to maintain that streak against the motivated Czech native. While Berdych is playing some fantastic tennis so far in Melbourne, he has done little overall to have the prediction lean in his favour.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Four Sets