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By Nick Georgandis
© Mark Peterson/Corleve

There will be no Rafa Slam at the Australian Open.


Because Rafa got slammed.

World No. 7 David Ferrer pounded No. 1 Rafael Nafal in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday night, a shocking quaterfinal upset that turned the tennis world on its ear and interrupted the mighty Mallorcan's streak of 25 straight Grand Slam match wins and three straight major titles.

Nadal appeared to suffer a left hamstring injury in the second game of the first set, and used several medical time outs to continue. Ironically, an injury in last year's quarterfinals eventually saw him retire against Andy Murray. That game was pivotal to Ferrer's momentum on the night.

In a game that took 17 minutes to complete, Ferrer broke Nadal by winning the ninth deuce point to go up 2-0.

Nadal broke back in the next game, but had to call for his trainer after it was over. Nadal left the court with said trainer, and was gone for six minutes, leaving some fans wondering if the maneuver was intentional to cool Ferrer off after the quick start.

But the break did nothing to shake up Ferrer, who broke Nadal again in the next game and held off a late rally to take the first set 6-4.

The nimble Ferrer hit 44 winners to just 19 for Nadal to score his second-ever win over his countryman. It was Nadal's first straight set loss in a major since the semifinals of the 2009 US Open, when he was routed 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 by eventual champion Juan Martin Del Potro.

"This is one big victory for me, but it's not like a victory really," Ferrer said. "He was playing with injury ... and I had luck. But I played my game."

Ferrer, who won Auckland last week, improved to 9-0 on the year, and will take on Murray in Friday's semifinals.

It will be Ferrer's first semifinal appearance at a Slam since the 2008 US Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in this round. Ferrer has never played a Grand Slam final in his 11-year career, and had lost seven straight against Nadal, dating back to 2008.

His last victory over his fellow Spaniard was in the 2007 US Open fourth round, that a four-set victory. Ferrer is 3-2 all-time against Murray, having won two of three matches last year. Murray won their last meeting, in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, 6-2, 6-2.

With Nadal's loss, Rod Laver remains the last man to hold all four titles concurrently, and Nadal, now 7-2 on the season, goes out of the of the Australian Open in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

Last year, it was Murray who advanced over him when Nadal retired with an injury while trailing 6-3, 7-6(2), 3-0. He did not play again until Indian Wells almost two months later. then reached the semifinals or won the next six events he played in.

The injury looked to affect Nadal's ability to run down balls, as he seemed to hold up on several that his quickness would usually make reachable, it not completely returnable.

During a third-set changeover, a close-up of Nadal's face by the television cameras showed apparent tears in his eyes.


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