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Injury ends Rafa Nadal's Grand Slam quest as draw opens up for Murray

Andy Murray now faces David Ferrer in Australian Open semi-final.

Image: John Donegan/AP/Press Association Images

WELL IT TOOK long enough, but things just got interesting in Melbourne.

Favourite and top seed Rafael Nadal’s quest to become the first man in 42 years to win four straight grand slam events has ended cruelly, with a hamstring injury and defeat.

The Spaniard limped out of the Australian Open quarter-final against compatriot  David Ferrer in the last hour.

Nadal, of course, is the reigning French Open, Wimbledon and US Open champion and was a mere two wins away form a so-called ‘Rafa Slam’.

Ferrer however ended the dream as he took advantage of a weakened opponent to win 6-4 6-2 6-3. He will now play Andy Murray in a semi-final.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic face off in the other showdown. Ferrer was gracious in victory.  ”I did my game, I played, I received, I would try to go into the net,” he said.

But if Nadal wasn’t injured he would normally have won in three sets. This is a victory for me, but it’s not how I like victory normally.

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A year ago to the day, a knee problem forced Nadal to pull out of the Australian Open, when he was two sets down to Murray in the quarter-finals.

Murray seemed to be trying to keep himself cool in the wake of Nadal’s shock exit as he quoted Rudyard Kipling to his 279,820 followers moments ago.

Read Stephen Kelly’s Australian Open round-up

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