Rafael Nadal loses in straight sets at Australian Open

Rafael Nadal's bid to land the "Rafa Slam" ended in frustration tonight as injury contributed to his exit from the Australian Open for the second successive year.

Nadal injured his left hamstring early in his last-eight clash with David Ferrer and his Spanish compatriot took full advantage to go through 6-4 6-2 6-3 and secure a semi-final spot against Andy Murray.



The world number one had to pull out of his quarter-final against Murray 12 months ago to the day with a knee problem when two sets down before going on to win at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.



He arrived in Melbourne aiming to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major titles simultaneously.



But he got off to a dreadful start when, in a lengthy first service game, he appeared to injure his hamstring as Ferrer broke. Nadal broke straight back but it quickly became apparent there was a problem with the top seed when he left the Rod Laver Arena for treatment at 2-1 down.

When he returned, a shake of the head in the direction of his camp further suggested he would not be able to produce his customary all-action style.



And so it proved as Ferrer broke once more to establish a 3-1 lead.



Nadal rallied by getting it back on serve at 5-4 but he immediately lost his serve again as he struggled to push off his left leg, handing his Davis Cup team-mate the opening set.



Nadal started the second with renewed purpose and broke to love to establish a 2-1 lead. But Ferrer simply upped his game, moving Nadal around with some punishing groundstrokes which inevitably took their toll as the 28-year-old levelled it up.



After the next game the match was stopped for 10 minutes so the players would not be distracted by the nearby fireworks to celebrate Australia Day.



But the stoppage hindered rather than helped Nadal as he had to stand idle on a cool Melbourne night.



And when play got under way again Ferrer seized the moment to grab two quick breaks and the second set.



The seventh seed surged into a 3-0 lead in the third as well and, although Nadal did manage three holds, there was never a chance Ferrer would blow up and squander the opportunity of just a fourth win in 15 meetings against the Mallorcan and his first since 2007.



Afterwards, Ferrer admitted it was not the way he wanted to go through.



"It's not easy. Rafa is a gentleman and played on after being injured in the first set," he said.



"I fought a lot and it was still not easy.



"I played aggressively and tried to go to the net but if Rafael was not injured I would not have won in three sets. It is a win but not how I wanted to win.



"I just tried to focus on my own game and I am happy. I will do my best now in the semi-finals."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee