20 Aug 2011

Top seeds fall victim to big serving underdogs

11:04 am on 20 August 2011

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, numbers two and three in the world, suffered surprise defeats to inspired opponents in an entertaining quarter-finals day at the Cincinnati Tennis Open.

To the delight of a packed home crowd, American hard court specialist Mardy Fish beat Nadal for the first time in his career, 6-3 6-4, to book a spot in the semi-finals where he will face Britain's Andy Murray.

Then Federer was undone 6-2 7-6 (3) by Czech Tomas Berdych, who after beating him twice last year is becoming something of a bogeyman for the Swiss.

Nadal, who burnt his fingers on a hot plate at a local restaurant earlier in the week, had played a three and half hour, three-setter against Fernando Verdasco on Friday and then kept his doubles commitment.

Fish entered the match having lost his prior six meetings with the Spaniard but battled hard against Nadal, who, troubled by his burnt fingers and foot blisters, struggled against his opponent's serve.

The centre court crowd then watched another surprise as Berdych delivered a reminder of his quality.

Federer, who had won 24 of his previous 26 games in Cincinnati, never got to grips with Berdych's powerful serve as he suffered another setback following a third-round exit in Montreal last week.

Murray enjoyed a comfortable 6-3 6-3 win over France's Gilles Simon in his quarter-final.

Simon was the only player outside the top eight seeds to reach the quarter-finals after a three-set win over Spain's David Ferrer that lasted over three hours.

World number one Novak Djokovic is in action later against France's Gael Monfils, with the winner facing Berdych.