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.
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 caught on. He is very talented and it is not easy to overcome him, “he said.
“Gradually I started to feel tired, my stomach ached. After the fourth set I was destroyed, but the pills took. At the beginning of the fifth set I was also lucky when I averted the breakball and immediately took the service to Denis in the next game.
It’s great to be in the Melbourne semifinals again in front of fantastic fans in Rod Laver’s arena. Two days off now come in handy, but I’m not 21 years old anymore.
However, I feel good physically and I don’t have any problems with movement. I don’t think about a record grand slam title yet. Two months ago, I didn’t even know if I would still be able to play top tennis.
I am very pleased that I have managed a successful return, I enjoy it in the court, “Nadal said in his first post-match interview with former American tennis player Jim Courier.
The Australian Open is the only grand slam tournament that Nadal has won only once, 13 years ago. Nevertheless, he has good results in Melbourne Park, as he has been in the finals five times in total.
“Nadal is a specific player that there aren’t many. When it looks like he has nothing to offer, he somehow gets bored and goes into it again.
The introduction of the fifth set cost him a lot of energy, but he created the necessary lead and then he did not give the opponent a real chance to return. He made a lot of double mistakes in the match, but in the end there was a high percentage of first passes and points on his part and that was decisive.
Shapovalov really wanted and wanted to win, but in the end he enjoyed the more experienced one, “said American tennis legend John McEnroe at Eurosport.
Men’s Singles Quarterfinals:
Rafael Nadal (Sp.-6) – Denis Shapovalov (CAN-14) 6: 3, 6: 4, 4: 6, 3: 6, 6: 3