Strange to think that, after playing each other at least once per year between 2005 and 2015, this was the duo’s first meeting in almost four years. But if that bagel was still weighing on Nadal’s mind, he made amends with interest at the start of the fourth-round clash.
What difference the break point spurned by Berdych in the opening game might have made became more academic with each passing game. From that point on, the 33-year-old had the best seat in the house for an hour-long Nadal masterclass, paying the heaviest of prices for some wretched serving.
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The Czech made just six of his 16 first deliveries, not that it made much difference which serve found the box, winning two points apiece on his first and second serve by the time his own bagel was served. Nadal wasn’t done there, rattling off nine successive games before Berdych bothered the scoreboard, raising a fist as relieved applause broke out around Rod Laver Arena having held for 1-3.
Nadal didn’t let up, however, breaking once more to seal the two-set lead. But credit Berdych for holding his own in the third, staying with the Spaniard for the first 11 games and even bringing up set point on the Nadal serve before leading 4-3 in the ensuing tiebreak.