Rafa Faces First Big Test

Image courtesy of gemtennis.com  REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE
Rafael Nadal hasn't dropped a set in the tournament yet. Image courtesy of gemtennis.com/Reuters
After sailing through to the Australian Open quarter finals untested, 2009 champion Rafael Nadal  faces his first big test of the tournament when he faces seventh seed Tomas Berdych  on Rod Laver Arena tonight. The Spaniard has won his opening four matches at the event in straight sets, but is yet to face anyone of the calibre of Berdych.

Berdych has had to work much harder to get this far, having beaten 30th seed Kevin Anderson in the third round before a four set win  against Nicolas Almagro in his last match after dropping the opening set. Having already played some tough matches during the tournament however, the Czech could have a clear edge over his opponent in terms of match fitness, with the second seed reportedly battling shoulder and knee problems. 

The pair have met thirteen times previously, with Nadal holding a convincing 10-3 advantage against the world number seven, which has included wins in their past nine matchups. Both Grand Slam matches between the pair (Wimbledon ’07 & ’10) have resulted in straight sets wins to Nadal , who also triumphed 6-2 3-6 6-3 in their most recent clash in Miami last year.

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