Nadal ramps up form ahead of quarters

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 12:58

Melbourne: World number one Rafael Nadal
sent out a warning to his rivals that he`s back in business
ahead of Wednesday`s Australian Open quarter-final with David
Ferrer.

Nadal, bidding for a fourth straight major title to
complete a non-calendar year `Rafa Slam`, tagged Monday`s
straight-sets win over Marin Cilic in the fourth round as his
best in the tournament and declared he was healthy.

That`s all foreboding news for compatriot and seventh
seed Ferrer for their quarter-final, which guarantees a
Spaniard will play in the semi-finals.

In Wednesday`s other quarter, last year`s finalist Andy
Murray has an intriguing match-up with Ukrainian giant-killer
Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Nadal had been troubled by a virus he picked up in Doha
on his way to Australia but there was no sign of his massive
sweating in the previous match as he ratcheted up his level
against last year`s semi-finalist Cilic.

"I feel I played my best match by far at this year`s
Open. I think it was a very good match for me and a very
important victory," Nadal said. "I was able to play with high
intensity, very good rhythm, playing more inside the court."

Nadal has a 11-3 record over Ferrer, who beat the world
number one twice in 2007, including a four-set fourth round
victory at the US Open.

"We know each other well. We`ve played each other a lot
of times. I think he`s a fantastic player for many years so I
have all respect for him," Nadal said.

"I know it`s going to be a really difficult match."

It will be Nadal`s fifth successive Australian Open
quarter-final and he is in the midst of a 25-match Grand Slam
winning streak, his longest, but four off the record run of 29
held by Rod Laver.

The winner will play either British fifth seed Murray or
46th-ranked Dolgopolov in the top-half semi-final.

Murray, who was shattered by his defeat in last year`s
final by Roger Federer after holding five set points in a
marathon third-set tiebreaker, said he was ready for the big
matches of the tournament.

"I feel good. The matches are definitely going to get
tougher," he said. "I`ve been moving well. I`m hitting the
ball the best I`ve have done since the early matches, but it`s
going to get much tougher. I`m ready for that mentally."

Murray is bidding to win Britain`s first male Grand Slam
since 1936 and was impressive in losing just five games to
Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the round of 16.

Murray, who has yet to drop a set in his four matches at
this year`s Open, is undefeated in seven matches so far this
season.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 12:58

comments powered by Disqus