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Murray in semis as Nadal retires
By Dennis Passa
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 27 - 01 - 2010

Defending champion Rafael Nadal retired from his quarterfinal against Andy Murray with an injured knee, then said the Scottish player would end his Grand Slam title drought by winning the Australian Open.
“For Andy, I think he deserves to win his first Grand Slam. And I think he's going to do it,” Nadal said less than an hour after a knee injury forced him to concede Tuesday's quarterfinal while he was trailing 6-3, 7-6 (2), 3-0.
“There's a very good chance for him. First thing, he's playing very well,” Nadal said. “Second thing, he's already in the semifinals. He's only two matches away.”
Andy Roddick also went out of the Australian Open Tuesday, struggling with a shoulder injury before going down in five sets to Marin Cilic.
Nadal said he didn't want to risk further damage by playing on and potentially having to spend long periods off the tour with knee tendinitis like he did last year.
“Similar thing that I had last year,” Nadal said of the pain. “It was impossible to win the match.”
Murray will play a semifinal against Cilic, who beat No. 7 Roddick 7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3 earlier Tuesday.
“I didn't know when he hurt his knee, when he started feeling it, but from my side, I played very well,” said Murray, who is hoping to end a seven-decade British drought at the majors. “I deserved to be up when the match stopped.” The 22-year-old Scot can hardly wait to play his semifinal against Cilic.
“I lost to him at the US Open in straight sets, so I'm looking for a little revenge,” Murray said. “If I play like I did tonight I have got a good chance. Obviously nerves are going to be there with an opportunity to make a final of a Slam.”
Roddick struggled through a right shoulder injury that impaired his movement, but he expects no long-term damage.
Nadal, who struggled with knee tendinitis and was unable to defend his Wimbledon title last season after beating Roger Federer in the Australian Open final, received on-court treatment from a trainer for a right knee ailment after losing the second set.
Three games later, the Spaniard decided he couldn't continue.
Still in the equation at Melbourne Park is three-time champion Federer, who plays Nikolay Davydenko in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Novak Djokovic, the 2008 champion, takes on the same year's runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the other quarterfinal.
“I had to go for my shots, play big tennis. And when the big points come you don't want to play long points against Rafa,” said Murray, whose only Grand Slam final appearance ended in a loss to Federer at the 2008 US Open.
Roddick's only major has been the 2003 US Open, the last time an American man has won a Grand Slam singles title, marking the country's longest drought in men's majors.
Despite playing strongly in the third and fourth sets to level the match, Roddick fell apart in the final set, allowing No. 14 Cilic to break twice and send the last American man out of the singles draw at Melbourne Park.
Roddick said he didn't practice Monday after feeling a twinge in his shoulder during Sunday's fourth-round win over Fernando Gonzalez.
“The trainer said it was stemming from the neck down,” Roddick said. “By the end of the first set, I was pretty numb in the bottom two fingers. I could still hit it pretty hard; I was just having trouble controlling it.”
Seven-time Grand Slam singles winner Justine Henin hasn't won a major in two years - because she hasn't played in one. Henin, who returned from 20 months in retirement, advanced by beating Nadia Petrova 7-6 (3), 7-5 to take out the last seeded player in her half of the draw.
Henin, unranked and playing on a wild-card entry at Melbourne Park, will next face Wimbledon semifinalist Zheng Jie, who beat Russia's Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-3 to equal her Chinese record for the best run at a major.
“I just went for it with my heart. Finally I could make it, and I'm very happy,” Henin said. “At the end I played much more aggressive tennis.”
Henin ended a highly successful run in Melbourne for Petrova, who ousted two reigning major champions: US Open champion Kim Clijsters in the third round; and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth.
Kirilenko had taken out big names in her section, too, starting with 2008 champion Maria Sharapova in her first round and her fourth-round victory against last year's finalist Dinara Safina, who retired with a back problem.
Henin retired in May 2008 while holding the No. 1 ranking and had not played at a major since losing in the quarterfinals to Sharapova here that season. Henin won the 2004 Australian title and reached the final in 2006.
The loss to Sharapova confirmed to Henin that she needed a break. Now she's feeling as good as ever.
Roddick, who took two months off at the end of last year due to a knee injury, was also positive after his loss.
He was told by the ATP trainer that he wouldn't risk any serious damage by continuing playing Tuesday.
“All signs at this point are good,” Roddick said. “Whether it was a nerve that was compressed or something, I don't know, cutting off something. But they don't think it's going to be anything too serious long-term. I'm sure we'll take the proper precautions and check it out.”
Doubles greats honored
One of the world's best doubles partnerships was honored Tuesday as Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge were inducted into the Tennis Australia Hall of Fame.
The pair, who won 61 doubles titles, including a record six Wimbledons, two Australian Opens, two US Opens and a French Open, said the recognition matched their Grand Slam achiviements.


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