l Murray barges into semis

32
Gulf Daily News Wednesday, 28th January 2015
NADAL FALLS TO
BERDYCH
l Murray barges into semis
MELBOURNE: Ironwilled Czech Tomas
Berdych ended eight
years of tyranny under
nemesis Rafa Nadal to
storm into the Australian Open semi-finals
yesterday before his next opponent
Andy Murray restored British colonial
rule to the floodlit centre court.
In the evening session, Murray struck
back for the old guard, slapping down local teenager Nick Kyrgios 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3 to
deflate home fans pumped up by the traditional sporting rivalry with former colonial
masters Britain.
But it was Nadal’s 6-2 6-0 7-6 (5) humbling
on an unseasonably cold summer’s day that
rocked Melbourne Park to its core and shook
the biggest monkey in the men’s game off the
back of Berdych.
The big-serving Czech’s 17-match losing
streak to the Spaniard was the equal-longest in the professional era and snapping it
was the result of a perfectly executed plan.
“Oh, it feels great,” Berdych told reporters. “Everything was working. I was able to
execute it really well.”
In an intriguing twist, the man that helped
Berdych create the master plan was Dani
Vallverdu, Murray’s former hitting partner
and assistant coach, who parted ways with
the Scot in November.
Now in Berdych’s camp, Vallverdu will
provide the intelligence for
preparations against Murray.
On the strength of Berdych’s
tournament, the Venezuelan
has been a roaring success,
with the Czech not dropping a
set.
The rangy 29-year-old was
irresistible in the first two sets
against Nadal, wrapping them
up in exactly an hour and giving the 14-times grand slam
champion his first grand slam
bagel since the 2006 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer.
“It was just not my day. I
didn’t play with
the right intensity,
the right rhythm,”
said a disappointed Nadal, who was
nonetheless content
with his run after
coming back from
injury and illness.
Black-clad Murray was all business against brash
19-year-old Kyrgios
and needed to be for
n Berdych celebrates after defeating Nadal
much of a high-quality encounter on a chilly, windy evening.
side of his opponent, who dumped Nadal from
Kyrgios lifted to bring the crowd into the equa- Wimbledon on the way to the last eight.
tion, but Murray rose with him, closing out the
“I have seen his matches for the last 18
match with a barrage of scintillating winners.
months... So I wasn’t going to underestimate
“I tried to start as quickly as possible because him.”
I know how dangerous he is,” Murray said court- Sharapova in semis; Today’s Order of Play – Page 31
Eto’o moves to Sampdoria
LONDON: Cameroonian striker
Samuel Eto’o has joined Serie A
side Sampdoria from Everton, the
Premier League club said yesterday.
The four-times African Footballer
of the Year, who moved to Everton
in August and scored four goals
in 20 appearances, has signed a
two and a half year contract with
Sampdoria.
“We thank Samuel for his efforts
and for bringing his know-how
to the team,” manager Roberto
Martinez told the club website.
“On behalf of all Evertonians we
wish him well for the next chapter
in his career.”
Eto’o, 33, helped Barcelona win
the Champions League in 2009 and
lifted the trophy again as an Inter
Milan player the following year.
He moved to Russian club Anzhi
Makhachkala in 2011 in a deal that
reportedly made him the highest
paid footballer in the world before
joining Chelsea in 2013.
n Nations Cup venue switch
MALABO: This weekend’s African
Nations Cup quarter-finals have
been moved away from the small
Equatorial Guinea towns of
Ebebiyin and Mongomo due to
concerns over the pitches.
Saturday’s quarter-final between
the host nation and Tunisia,
scheduled for the 5,000-capacity
Estadio de Ebebiyin, has
been shifted to Bata, the
Confederation of African
Football said yesterday.
It will be played as the second
match in a double-header also
involving the derby between
Congo and Democratic Republic
of Congo.
Sunday’s quarter-final in
Mongomo between the winners
of Group C and runners-up in
Group D, will now be played as
the opening match of two at the
Estadio de Malabo.
The first games will kick off
at 7pm Bahrain time, with the
second moved 30 minutes later
than originally scheduled at
10.30pm Bahrain time.
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