Australian Open: No Slam for Nadal
MELBOURNE, Australia ó Rafael Nadalís bid to win four straight Grand Slam tournaments is over.
The injured Nadal lost for the second straight year in the Australian Open quarterfinals, going down 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 Wednesday to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.
Nadal, who appeared to have tears in his eyes during a changeover while trailing 3-0 in the third set, took a medical timeout for an apparent leg injury after three games. He was clearly out of sorts, failing to chase down balls that he would ordinarily return easily.
ěThis is a difficult day for me,î Nadal said. ěToday I canít do more than what I did, he played at a very high level.î
Nadal, who didnít bother chasing the winner on match point, won last yearís French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. He was trying to add the Australian title and hold all four major trophies, which hasnít been achieved since Rod Laver won four in a row in 1969.
When pressed about the injury, Nadal said: ěI donít have to tell you what I felt on the court, but it is obvious I did not feel at my best. I had a problem with the match at the very beginning, and after that, the match was almost over.î
Last year, he retired against Andy Murray because of a right knee ailment that kept him off the tour for two months, again on the Australia Day national holiday.
Nadal picked up a virus two weeks ago in Doha at the start of the year. He sweated profusely in several of his matches. Nadal didnít want to elaborate on his injury, saying he didnít want to use injuries as an excuse.
ěIn general, I had a virus. When you have a virus, your body goes down and you have more risk of everything,î he said. ěThatís probably what happened.î
Murray wonít have to get past Nadal this year, but he will have to beat Ferrer and either defending champion Roger Federer or 2008 champion Novak Djokovic to claim his first major title.
He advanced Wednesday with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 win over unseeded Alexandr Dolgopolov, after Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva advanced to the womenís semifinals.
Clijsters advanced to a semifinal against No. 2 Zvonareva, whom she beat in the final at the U.S. Open last September. It will be the 10th tour meeting for the pair, with Clijsters holding a 6-3 advantage.
Clijsters had some nervous moments in her 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska. Cannons went off earlier when Zvonareva started the Australia Day proceedings with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Petra Kvitova.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki plays Li Na of China in another semifinal today, before Federer and third-seeded Djokovic meet in a night semifinal.
Clijsters is the only Grand Slam winner into the womenís semis, although sheís still seeking her first major title outside of America.
ěI hope the experience can help me a little bit,î Clijsters said. ěBut there are some tough players out there, we have Nos. 1, 2, 3 still in and Li Na has been playing really well. So it is going to be really tough.
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