Nadal retires with knee injury, Roddick loses at Australian Open

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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Nadal retires with knee injury, Roddick out

MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending champion Rafael Nadal retired from his quarterfinal against Andy Murray with an injured knee, then predicted 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 after a right knee injury forced him to concede Tuesday’s quarterfinal while 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 on Tuesday, struggling with a shoulder injury before going down in five sets to Marin Cilic.

Nadal said he didn’t want to risk more damage by playing and potentially having to spend long periods off the tour with knee tendinitis.

“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.

Nadal struggled with knee tendinitis and was unable to defend his Wimbledon title last season after beating Roger Federer in the Australian Open final. He received on-court treatment from a trainer for his knee after losing the second set.

Three games later, the Spaniard decided he couldn’t keep playing.

“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 U.S. 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.”

Murray’s only Grand Slam final appearance ended in a loss to Federer at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Roddick struggled through a right shoulder injury that impaired his movement, but he expects no long-term damage.

Still in the equation at Melbourne Park is three-time champion Federer, who plays Nikolay Davydenko in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Novak Djokovic, the 2008 champion, takes on the same year’s runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the other quarterfinal.

Roddick’s only major has been the 2003 U.S. 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.

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