Melbourne:Andy Murray had been warned about the fireworks when he played defending champion Rafael Nadal.
He got what he expected in the second set. What he didn't expect was the fizzer at the end.
Nadal retired from their quarterfinal match trailing while 6-3, 7-6 (2), 3-0 on Tuesday night, not long after he'd taken a medical time out for treatment on his right knee.
The 23-year-old Spaniard conceded the match five games and a tiebreaker after he'd suddenly tripped and fallen to the court in the wake of a delay while fireworks from Melbourne's Australia Day celebrations lit up the sky and cracked over Rod Laver Arena.
Murray was convinced he would have beaten Nadal even if the match had gone the distance. He's also confident in the semifinals when he meets Marin Cilic of overturning their last result - a Cilic win at the US Open - and reaching his second Grand Slam final.
"When the big moments came in the match, I thought I dictated what happened," Murray said. "From my side, I played really well and deserved to be up when the match was stopped."
Nadal tweaked his knee in the 11th game of a second set that had already been interrupted for nine minutes by fireworks. Both players had been told in advance about the break, although both took time to readjust to match conditions.
Nadal's fall six games later sent a murmur around the stadium, but he eased concern by playing a shot by instinct as he sat near the baseline. Murray won that point, but Nadal held serve in the game and celebrated with a flurry of wild, double-arm pumps as if he'd won a final.
He didn't show any outward signs of being hurt until calling for a medical timeout while serving in the second game of the third set. He took a three-minute break while the trainer worked on his right knee. He played only 13 more points before walking to the net and shaking Murray's hand.
Britain hasn't had a men's major winner since Fred Perry in 1936. Nadal predicted Murray could end the wait by winning this title.
"For Andy, I think he deserves to win his first Grand Slam," Nadal said. "And I think he's going to do it.
"There's a very good chance for him. First thing, he's playing very well. Second thing, he's already in the semifinals. He's only two matches away."