Nadal blows away Berdych | The Daily Star
02:21 PM, January 20, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:35 PM, January 20, 2019

Nadal blows away Berdych

Rafa Nadal routed Tomas Berdych 6-0 6-1 7-6(4) in a centre court masterclass to charge into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

The 2009 champion was relentless at Rod Laver Arena, claiming the first two sets in an astonishing 51 minutes and firing 32 winners past the hapless Czech to reach the last eight at Melbourne Park for the 11th time.

Spaniard Nadal, who avenged his defeat to the former world number four in the quarter-final of the 2015 tournament, sealed the win on his first match point when the Czech hammered into the net.

Bidding for an 18th Grand Slam title, second seed Nadal will play unseeded American Frances Tiafoe for a place in the semi-finals.

Unseeded American Collins hammers Kerber to reach quarters

Unseeded American Danielle Collins took less than an hour to thrash 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-0 6-2 and power her way into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

The unheralded 25-year-old had not won a match in her previous five Grand Slam appearances but after smashing 29 winners against Kerber she has now made it to the last eight in her first main draw showing at Melbourne Park.

Asked if it felt like a Cinderella moment for her, the twice NCAA collegiate champion agreed.

"I guess you could say that. That's a good way to look at it. It's been an incredible experience," she told reporters. "I'm so grateful to be here in Melbourne.

"I definitely played some tournaments in some strange places the first year that I turned pro. I'm really just grateful to be out here doing what I love and playing in front of a good crowd.

"I may not have won a Grand Slam match before this (but) I got to tell you I think it's going to keep happening.

Ranked 35th in the world, Collins breezed through the opening set in 20 minutes with three service breaks, hitting winners on all sides of the court against the second seed, who had five double faults in the set.

After an early trade of breaks in the second set, Collins smashed a backhand to break Kerber's serve and take a 4-2 lead, before breaking the German once again to seal victory on her first match point in 56 minutes.

"We spent a good amount of time watching her play. I played her last year, so I was familiar with her game. I had a clear mindset of what I was going to do," said Collins, who was ranked 167 in the world in 2017 before climbing up to 36 last year.

"From the very first point, I showed her that I wasn't going to let her into the match, that I was going to dictate the entire way through.

"I stuck to my game plan. It clearly worked out well for me. Pretty much smooth sailing throughout the entire thing."

FEISTY COLLINS

Wimbledon champion Kerber, who has struggled with her mental game throughout her career, mumbled to herself constantly and at one stage threw down her racquet in frustration to elicit a warning from the umpire.

Kerber broke Collins's serve in the first game of the second set and tried to show a bit more emotion only for Collins to come straight back at her.

"I'm feisty," said Collins. "I love making it kind of a war. If somebody wants to get in my face on my unforced errors, I have no problem getting right back at them and making it a feisty match.

"I love that, embrace it. I love when things get competitive. You haven't seen me at Topgolf or bowling.

"Even karaoke, I don't have a good voice, but I always try to do the best at whatever I'm doing. If I'm not, I still tell myself I'm the best."

Next up for Collins will be either compatriot and fifth seed Sloane Stephens or Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who meet in the last match of the evening.

Barty party continues in Melbourne with Sharapova win

Ashleigh Barty rallied from a set down to beat former world number one Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-1 6-4 at Melbourne Park on Sunday, becoming the first Australian woman in a decade to reach the quarter-finals at her home Grand Slam.

With the last of the Australian men's singles players dumped out in the early hours of Sunday morning, the nation's hopes of a home Grand Slam champion now rest firmly on the shoulders of Barty, the 15th seed at Melbourne Park.

The 22-year-old, roared on by a raucous home crowd that included Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and men's great Rod Laver, converted her fourth match point with an ace to seal the win in two hours and 22 minutes.

"These are the moments we train and we practise and prepare for," Barty told reporters. "You know, sitting down with my team late last year, it was one of the goals we set out that we wanted to go deep into slams, and I feel like that was the next step for me.

"It's amazing that it's happened in Australia," added Barty, who is seeking to become the first home champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

Barty, who played professional cricket before returning to tennis in 2016, tried to take the sting out of the game early on by sending backhand slices to Sharapova.

However, the five-times Grand Slam champion, who beat defending champion Caroline Wozniacki in her previous match, looked in control, and after converting her third breakpoint in the ninth game followed it up with a service hold to love to take the opening set.

Barty fought back to break twice in the second set and level the match, as more unforced errors crept into her Russian opponent's game, and then broke twice more in the decider to race into a 4-0 lead.

Sharapova, the 2008 champion, rallied to win three straight games but could not prevent Barty closing out the match and becoming the first Australian woman to reach the quarters since Jelena Dokic in 2009.

CONFIDENCE PLAYER

Sharapova, who was suspended for 15 months for taking the banned drug meldonium in 2016, said Barty's style was difficult to play against.

"I thought she played a really great match, and I still had my chances which I didn't take," she said. "I definitely had a letdown for many games straight, gave her that confidence, and she's a confidence player, as well."

Barty will meet twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals after the eighth seed thrashed American teenager Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-1 earlier in the day.

The Australian lost her last meeting with Kvitova, in Sydney before the year's first Grand Slam.

"It doesn't get any easier at all, it's just another challenge and I'll try to come out and play my best tennis," said Barty.

"I think I love to play with freedom and fun and try and create as much variety as possible.

"Obviously my game is built around my serve and forehand and bringing in a variety with the slice. I think every day I try and challenge myself to add another string to my bow in a sense and try and become the complete player."

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