Rafael Nadal will face Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open after both men enjoyed comfortable victories in the fourth round on Sunday.
Nadal had to save six break points in the opening set before easing to a 7-5 6-1 6-4 victory over 14th seed Kevin Anderson, while Berdych saw off home hope Bernard Tomic 6-2 7-6 6-2.
Third seed Nadal admitted he thought of quitting during his second round match with American Tim Smyczek on Wednesday, the Spaniard suffering from dizziness and nausea as he fell two sets to one behind.
However, the nine-time French Open champion dug deep to battle back and win in five sets and looks to be working his way back to form and full fitness after the latter half of 2014 was ruined by a wrist injury and appendicitis.
The 28-year-old had to save a break point in the fifth game of the first set and five more in the 11th before finally getting a chance to break the big-hitting Anderson, who netted a simple volley to give Nadal the set.
From that point there was only going to be one winner and Berdych will have to improve his dreadful record against Nadal to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne for the second year running.
Nadal has an 18-3 record against the seventh seeded Czech, who won three of their first four meetings but has lost the last 17 in a row.
“It’s very special to be in the quarter-finals after a tough period of time for me, it’s a fantastic result,” Nadal said.
Berdych, a semi-finalist last year, had too much power for the 66th-ranked Tomic as he reached the quarter-finals for the third straight year without losing a set.
“Every time I play here I’m able to bring something special, something more,” he said.
“I was feeling good on the court. It’s not easy, the crowd was great but they’re on the other side.
“I’m not complaining about it, but I’m just saying that was the set-up of today’s match. I’m happy with the way I handled it and glad to be in the quarter-finals.”
The big-serving Berdych fired too many rockets for Tomic, winning 85 per cent of his first serves and crunching 52 winners, 17 of them aces.
Berdych was taken to a tiebreaker in the second set after zipping through the opening set in 27 minutes but was always in command, losing only three points.
Tomic offered little in the final set with the Czech cruising to victory, and Berdych admits he must find another gear against Nadal.
“I’m going to have to sit down with my team and prepare the right tactics,” he said.
“Whatever I need to do I’m going to be ready for it and try to fight until the last point and bring something extra for myself.”
Source: Sky sports