Rafa continues demolition run | sports | Hindustan Times
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Rafa continues demolition run

sports Updated: Jan 24, 2011 23:55 IST
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Rafael Nadal stormed past Croatia's Marin Cilic into the Australian Open quarter-finals Monday in his bid to unite the Grand Slam titles, as Andy Murray went through and Robin Soderling crashed.

The world number one was in devastating touch against the 15th seed, who struggled throughout and double-faulted on match-point to go down 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 after 2hours 31minutes on a cool evening at Rod Laver Arena. "I didn't sweat as much tonight," Rafa smiled. "Two days ago I was sweating like crazy and I felt tired, but today is the first day that I felt perfect physically."

With the win, Nadal moves to 25 consecutive Grand Slam match victories, equalling runs by Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras in the 1970s and 1990s. Only Rod Laver (29) and Roger Federer (27, twice) have longer streaks.

Earlier Murray barely gave Austria's Jurgen Melzer a look in his 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 win which maintained British hopes of ending a men's Slam drought dating back to Fred Perry's 1936 US Open victory.

Murray avoided a quarter-final with Soderling when the in-form Swede was on the receiving end of the tournament's biggest upset, falling in four sets to Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Dolgopolov fought back from a set down to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 in what he called the performance of his life. Two-time Slam finalist Soderling was unbeaten this year and considered a contender for his first major title.

Meanwhile Canada's Milos Raonic, 20, was stopped by Ferrer, ending a career-breakthrough streak in which he beat seeds Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny and delivered the tournament's fastest serve.

Blistering clijsters
Third seed Kim Clijsters overcame the night chill and a sluggish start to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 7-6, 6-2 and march into the quarter-finals.

Women's second seed Zvonareva recovered from a slow start to ease past Iveta Benesova 6-4, 6-. She faces the Czech Republic's Kvitova, who downed Italian 22nd seed Flavia Pennetta 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Agnieszka Radwanska saved two match points before defeating Peng Shuai in three sets,.

Barred from venue
A relative of French tennis player Aravane Rezai has been barred from women's events indefinitely over a "serious safety matter", a statement said on Monday.

"The health and well-being of our players is the number one priority for the WTA," the statement said.

The WTA would not give further details, citing the player's privacy.