MELBOURNE – Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal became the first men’s singles semifinalist at this year’s Australian Open. The 2009 Melbourne champion defeated the 14th Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinals after a four-hour five-hour drama 6: 3, 6: 4, 4: 6, 3: 6, 6: 3. He still has a chance to win a record 21st Grand Slam title.
In the duel for advancing to the final, he will compete against the winner of the duel between the Italian Matteo Berrettini and the Frenchman Gael Monfils. Right at the beginning, Nadal broke Shapalov’s serve and turned the break advantage into a first set win. The Spaniard made far fewer unforced errors than the Canadian and had more winning strokes. He won the second set thanks to a better managed ending.
From the beginning of the third act, however, Shapovalov added to his aggressiveness, combinations and backhands began to come out along the line. The Canadian reduced to 1: 2 in sets and at the beginning of the fourth he quickly bounced back to Nadal to 4: 1. The Spaniard subsequently asked for a medical time out for stomach problems and took a painkiller. After returning to the court, he had two breakballs available at 3: 5, but Shapovalov turned them away thanks to a good first serve and forced a fifth set.
I don’t even know how I managed to win
However, Nadal celebrated his success in it. Thanks to the break in the second game, he took the lead 3: 0 and the match has already reached a successful end. In the ninth game, he converted the first swordball at his own service and adjusted the mutual balance with Shapovalov to 4: 1.
“I will honestly say that I do not even know how I managed to win this match. Today was a very difficult and hot day. I started well, in the first two sets I had almost everything. At the beginning of the third, however, I did not use the lead 30: 0 and Denis He was very talented and it’s not easy to beat him, I gradually started to feel tired, my stomach ached, I was destroyed after the fourth set, but the pills took over. It was great to be in the Melbourne semi-finals again in front of fantastic fans in the Rod Laver arena, two days off now come in handy, but I’m not yet 21 years old, but I feel good physically and I don’t have any problems with movement. “I don’t think about a record grand slam title at all yet. Two months ago I didn’t even know if I would still be able to play top tennis. I’m very happy that I managed a successful return, I’m enjoying it in the court.” Nadal said in the first post-match interview with former American tennis player Jim Courier.
Men’s Singles Quarterfinals:
Rafael Nadal (Sp._6) – Denis Shapovalov (CAN-14) 6: 3, 6: 4, 4: 6, 3: 6, 6: 3
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