Roger Federer and Rapael Nadal have both been knocked out of the 2011 Australian Open, Federer by Novak Djokovic and Nadal by David Ferrer.
Nadal took on his fellow countryman and close friend David Ferrer in the Rod Laver Arena quarter finals, hoping to be the first mens player to hold all four majors at the same time for many years.
Nadal went out at the quarter final stage last year at the Australian Open when he had to retire against Andy Murray with knee problems, and it quickly became obvious within the first set, that he was having similar problems this time around.
He was sweating heavily, even though it was relatively cool for Melbourne, and it seemed like he was suffering in a similar way to a few weeks ago when he had to pull out of a tournament in the middle east feeling ill.
However, when he did take an injury timeout and disappeared into the locker room, he returned with strapping on his upper thigh and it looked like it was a more straight forward muscle injury.
Maybe we will never know for sure, Nadal was coy about the injuries after the game, but it certainly looked to me that with the excess perspiration, like it was more than just a thigh problem.
After the first set Nadal was never in the game with only a few sketchy points here and there displaying any of his normal technique and swagger as he struggled to move and focus.
7th seed Ferrer for his part played an impressive game, sometimes it is not easy to keep your focus in such circumstances but even a 50% fit Nadal is still a dangerous opponent. However, he would have had to ask himself serious questions if he had not finished this match in 3 sets.
2nd seeded Federer was playing a semi-final match against the 3rd seed Novak Djokovic and after a slightly nervous start it became quickly obvious that Djokovic meant business.
Supported by fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic in the stands, he quickly found his serving rhythm which continued through out the match with his first serve stats over 70% and a very high conversion rate off of that 1st serve.
Federer gave his all out there but never really reached the heights that we know that he can reach with his normally reliable and, often, stunning backhand letting him down on numerous occasions.
Federer said afterwards,
“I thought he played a great match. I didn’t think I played bad myself, so it was a match played at a very high intensity for a long period of time. Clearly it’s disappointing to lose, but what to do if he plays well on the big points and potentially maybe I didn’t. It was a tough match. I was ready for another two sets easily. Pity I couldn’t push him there. I wish I could have won here for the fifth time, but it wasn’t possible tonight.”
Djokovic eventually closed out Federer in straight sets 7-6 (7-3 tie break), 7-5, 6-4 to book his place in this weekends Australian Open Final.
He will play either Andy Murray or David Ferrer who play their semi-final on Friday.