Australian Open: Rafael Nadal beats Denis Shapovalov to reach semi-final
World number five Rafael Nadal claimed a five-set win over Canada's Denis Shapovalov to reach the semi-finals of the 2022 Australian Open. He entered his seventh semi-final at this Slam after enduring a stern test from Shapovalov (6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3). The 20-time Grand Slam champion last reached this stage in the 2019 edition. Nadal is vying for his second Australian Open title.
- Nadal has been in sublime form after his return to the ATP Tour.
- He had contracted COVID-19 after competing in Abu Dhabi.
- Before that, Nadal played in August 2021 (Washington), losing to Lloyd Harris.
- The former then skipped the rest of the season due to a foot injury.
- After winning the Melbourne Summer Set, Nadal is eyeing a historic title at Melbourne Park.
Nadal broke early in the first set (3-1). He eventually took the set 6-3. The Spaniard was dominant in the second set too. Both players were neck-to-neck in the third set (4-4) before Shapovalov won 6-4. The latter continued his exploits in the third set too, sealing it 6-3. Nadal emerged as the winner of what turned out to be a grueling deciding set.
The men's singles quarter-final ran for four hours and eight minutes. Nadal won a total of 148 points while Shapovalov claimed 53 winners in the match. Notably, the latter fired as many as 20 aces. Nadal won 31% of receiving points (43/137) and 85% of net points (22/26). He won four return winners. Shapovalov smashed the fastest serve of the match (214 KPH).
Nadal claimed straight-set wins over Marcos Giron and Yannick Hanfmann in the first two rounds, respectively, of the 2022 Australian Open. The Spaniard then defeated Karen Khachanov, despite losing a set, to reach the fourth round. Only Roger Federer (18) has reached this stage in Melbourne more than Nadal (15). The latter overcame Adrian Mannarino and Shapovalov in the fourth round and quarter-finals, respectively.
Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009 after defeating Federer in the final. He could now become only the second man (Open Era) to win each Grand Slam twice. World number one Novak Djokovic achieved this feat after winning the French Open last year. Meanwhile, Nadal could also break a tie with Federer and Djokovic (20) in terms of Grand Slam titles.
Nadal will lock horns with either Matteo Berrettini or Gael Monfils in the semi-finals. The duo is set to compete in the second quarter-final later on Tuesday. Notably, the men's semi-finals are scheduled for Friday in Melbourne. This gives Nadal two days to recover.