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Nadal: No excuses over Berdych defeat

Nadal crashed out of the Australian Open. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal refused to make any excuses after his record-equalling winning streak over Tomas Berdych came to a comprehensive end in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Berdych won three of his first four meetings with Nadal but had not tasted victory over the Spaniard since 2006, his 17 straight defeats equalling a record in the open era.

However, the 29-year-old Czech picked the ideal time to end the sequence with a stunning 6-2 6-0 7-6 (7/5) victory on Rod Laver Arena and has yet to drop a set in the championship.

I didn't play with the right intensity, with the right rhythm, and the opponent played better than me.

It is a day that I just can congratulate my opponent. It is obvious that I needed something more to be more competitive, as I did in the third set. The third was the right set, the right game that I have to play.

But is obvious that before I didn't play with the right confidence, with the right intensity, losing court (position), playing very short. I make him play very easy. So you cannot expect to win matches in quarter-finals of a grand slam helping the opponent to play well.

– Rafael Nadal.

Snapshots: Sports photos of the day

Our selection of Friday's best photographs from the wide world of sport.

Russia's synchronised swimming team trains in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Reuters
Rafael Nadal celebrates in style after defeating Dudi Sela of Israel in the Australian Open third round. Credit: Reuters
Man's best friend: A touching scene at the annual Sedivackuv dog sled race in the Czech Republic. Credit: Reuters
An Israeli competitor in the World Medieval Fighting Championship – yes, it exists – suits up. Credit: Reuters


Teenager knocks Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of the tournament. Credit: PA Wire

World number one Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of Wimbledon after a shock defeat to Australian Nick Kyrgios.

The 19-year-old, who is ranked 144th in the world and making his Wimbledon debut, beat the Spaniard 7-6 5-7 7-6 6-3 on Centre Court to condemn the two-time champion to a fourth-round exit.

Kyrgios will now play Canada's Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.

Nadal powers past Federer despite painful blister

World number one Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer to reach the Australian Open final earlier today, despite suffering from a painful blister on his racquet hand.

An injury on the hand of Rafael Nadal during his men's singles semi-final match against Roger Federer Credit: REUTERS/Bobby Yip

The Spaniard, 27, overcame his hand injury and defeated Federer 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-3. He will now face Stanislas Wawrinka for the title on Sunday in Melbourne.

"The blister is good. It looks better every day. We are doing the right things. The blister today is not a problem any more for normal life. It's not painful," said Nadal.

"The problem is to play tennis. The only problem is the position of the blister, the place," he added.

Nadal receiving medical attention during his match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the quarter finals Credit: Joe Castro/AAP

Nadal played with taped up fingers, but was forced to stop and take a medical timeout so his palm injury could be attended to.

Emotional Rafael Nadal beats Djokovic to win US Open

An emotional Rafael Nadal enjoyed one of the most special slam titles of his career after defeating Novak Djokovic to win the US Open. He won 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 after three hours and 21 minutes.

After shaking hands with the world number one, Nadal lay flat on his front sobbing into the court before celebrating with his team.

Rafael Nadal with his US Open title trophy. Credit: Reuters.

Speaking afterwards he said this season had been one of the "most emotional" of his career.

"I felt that I did everything right to have my chance here. You play a match against one of the best players in history like Novak on probably his favourite surface, so I knew I had to be almost perfect to win.

"It means a lot for me have this trophy with me today. It's just amazing. I'm very, very happy, and I just say thank you very much to everybody who helped me to make that possible. It's a really special moment for me."


Steve Darcis: No one expected me to beat Nadal

Steve Darcis beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Belgian outsider who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon said he took advantage of the Spaniard's rusty display to produce a shock result.

Steve Darcis, ranked 135 in the world, said: "Nobody was expecting my win today. Rafa didn't play his best tennis, but I knew the first match on grass is always difficult.

"I tried to do what I like to do, come to the net as soon as I can, not play too far from the baseline. I don't know what to say right now, I'm really happy."

Rafael Nadal suffers shock Wimbledon exit

Two-time champion Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of Wimbledon by Belgium's Steve Darcis in one of the biggest shocks of recent years.

Darcis, ranked 135 in the world, beat the Spaniard 7-6 7-6 6-4 in their first round match on Court One.

Rafael Nadal lost in straight sets to 29-year-old Belgian Steve Darcis Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Nadal, who won the French Open earlier this month, also suffered a shock early elimination at Wimbledon last year when he lost to Lukas Rosol.

The 12-time Grand Slam winner, who was seeded fifth for this year's tournament, could have faced Roger Federer in the quarter-finals and Andy Murray in the last four.

Murray faces extra-tough path to Wimbledon final

Murray lost last year's Wimbledon final to Roger Federer. Credit: PA

Andy Murray was confirmed as the second seed for the Wimbledon men's singles today and French Open champion Rafael Nadal is a potential quarter-final opponent.

Nadal is still climbing back up the world rankings after a long spell out with a knee injury and fellow Spaniard David Ferrer gets the fourth seed spot.

It means that the French Open champion could play Murray, Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer as early as the quarter-finals.

And Andy Murray could face an unusually tough route of a Nadal quarter-final, Federer (world number 3) in the semi-final and Djokovic (world number 1) in the final.

Tennis fans will not know for sure until the official Wimbledon draw is made on Friday.

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