Gonzalez upsets Nadal in quarter-final

Melbourne, January 24:

Second-ranked Rafael Nadal was ousted from the Australian Open, falling 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in the quarter-finals to Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez here on Wednesday.

Nadal had survived a five-setter in his last match, against Andy Murray. The 10th-seeded Gonzalez ripped 41 winners with only 16 unforced errors to enter his first Grand Slam semi-final. He will play Germany’s Tommy Haas on Friday. The 12th-seeded Haas saved a match point before upsetting No 3 Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 2-6, 1-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters, starting her farewell tour, earlier beat sixth-seeded Martina Hingis 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the women’s semi-finals. She next meets top-seeded Maria Sharapova, who advanced to the semi-finals for the third straight year with a 7-6 (5), 7-5 win over 19-year-old compatriot Anna Chakvetadze.

Gonzalez broke Nadal twice in the first set and again in the opening game of the second when the Spaniard crashed a forehand into the net on double breakpoint. Gonzalez saved a break point in the eighth game.

Nadal was unable to attack Gonzalez’ second serve, constantly changing his position to try and get the cheap points. And he was only winning about one-third of his own

on second serve. Nadal sent a pair of forehands wide on the last two points while serving at 3-5 to surrender the match.

Sharapova had trouble with her serve, while Clijsters had trouble in general, but both found ways to win. Clijsters wasn’t sure how she won after making 62 unforced errors and dropping serve five times. Hingis is a three-time former champion here and reached the finals three other times.