27 Jan 2010

Nadal limps out of Australian Open

6:06 am on 27 January 2010

Defending champion Rafa Nadal has limped out of the Australian Open, his title defence shattered by a recurring knee problem and a devastating display by Andy Murray.

Nadal quit when trailing Murray two sets to love and three-love in the third but the match was as good as over with the Scotsman deservedly on his way to the semi-finals for the first time.

It has been 74 years since a British man won a grand slam title but the wait could soon be over if Murray can maintain his brilliant form for two more matches.

The 22-year-old has not dropped a set in Melbourne and will next face Croatia's Marin Cilic, who wore down seventh seed Andy Roddick in five sets but is nearing exhaustion after spending more than 18 hours on court to get this far.

Justine Henin's dream of winning the women's championship also edged closer to reality as did that of Zheng Jie, the first Chinese to make the semis in Australia.

Henin booked her place in the last four with a straight sets win over Russia's Nadia Petrova to set up a showdown with Zheng, who defeated Russia's Maria Kirilenko in straight sets.