Australian Open quarter-final: Rafael Nadal vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Nadal continues his bid to win a record 21st Grand Slam title
Tsitsipas is eyeing revenge after losing to Nadal in the semi-finals to years ago
The winner of this match will play Daniil Medvedev in Friday’s semi-final
Nadal* 6-3 Tsitsipas
Good start to the game by Tsitsipas as he hits a backhand winner. Great backhand return draws the error from Nadal, 15-30.
Big Nadal serve up the T, 30-30. Tsitsipas forehand into the net, set point. Another Tsitsipas return error and Nadal wins the opening set.
Nadal 5-3 Tsitsipas*
Slight delay as a ball kid wipes Nadal’s sweat and bird poo off the baseline.
When the game gets underway, Tsitsipas hits a smash winner on the opening point. He then hits a forehand winner.
But Nadal responds with a cross-court backhand winner from deep. Tsitsipas then nets a forehand, 30-all.
Brilliant return from Nadal catches out Tsitsipas at the net as he tries to serve and volley, break point.
Tsitsipas forehand into the net and Nadal breaks.
Nadal* 4-3 Tsitsipas
Nadal double faults to start the game. Nadal then nets a backhand, 0-30.
Back-to-back big first serves get Nadal back into the game.
Brilliant point construction by Nadal as he drags Tsitsipas wide and then whips a backhand winner into the open court, 40-30.
Tsitsipas puts a forehand long and Nadal holds.
Nadal 3-3 Tsitsipas*
Tsitsipas drops his first point on serve as he goes wide with a forehand, 15-15. He then goes well long with a forehand. He’s opened the door a little bit for Nadal.
Nadal goes long with a backhand, 30-30. He then nets a backhand after seeming to have the upper hand in the rally.
Tsitsipas holds with a smash winner. Strong finish by the fifth seed.
Nadal* 3-2 Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas hits a nice forehand approach shot and finishes with a backhand volley winner, 30-30.
Nadal responds with an ace, 40-30. Tsitsipas nets with a backhand and Nadal holds.
It has been a tight opening 17 minutes.
Nadal 2-2 Tsitsipas*
Tsitsipas’ confident start continues as he secures another love hold.
The Greek’s serve has always been good. It is his return game that is weak and will decide this match.
Nadal* 2-1 Tsitsipas
Nadal ace, 30-0. He follows that with a 147 km/h forehand winner down the line, 40-0.
Nadal gets Tsitsipas on the run and draws the error to hold.
Nadal 1-1 Tsitsipas*
Ideal start by Tsitsipas as he holds to love. He’ll be pleased with that.
First Set: Nadal* 1-0 Tsitsipas (*denotes server)
Nice start for Tsitsipas as he hits a block return and stands up well in a long rally with Nadal.
Tsitsipas goes for a backhand down the line but just misses, he will need that shot to be great tonight, 30-15.
Nadal double faults but Tsitsipas misses again with the backhand.
And Nadal holds as Tsitsipas nets a backhand return.
Here we go…
Nadal and Tsitsipas walk onto court.
A reminder that there are no fans in the crowd. But that will change tomorrow with 7,477 fans allowed to be on Rod Laver Arena for each session.
Eurosport pundit Tim Henman previews the upcoming match and feels the withdrawal of Matteo Berrettini will be “helpful” to Tsitsipas as he prepares to take on Nadal.
“I think it’s helpful for Stefanos, there’s no doubt about it. When you are going to play Nadal you need to have a full tank, full of energy,” he said.
“He would never wish that on his opponent, but now that he is through he has got to take advantage.
“I’m sure he’ll probably have a decent practice session, he was preparing for the match so he’ll want to go out there and hit some balls with his coach but then change his focus from what would have been a difficult match against Berrettini to what will be an even bigger challenge against Nadal.”
Can Nadal end a long wait?
Hello and welcome to coverage of the last quarter-final of the men’s draw between Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Tsitsipas will be hoping to gain revenge on Nadal and end the Spaniard’s bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title when they meet in a rematch of their last-four encounter in Melbourne two years ago.
The Greek made his Grand Slam breakthrough at Melbourne Park in 2019, defeating Roger Federer in the fourth round before his remarkable run was halted in ruthless fashion by Nadal, who conceded just six games.
Tsitsipas has since established himself as a mainstay in the top 10, winning the ATP Finals in 2019, but the 22-year-old will have his task cut out against Nadal, who has won six of their seven meetings.
Nadal, 34, was all doom and gloom about his fitness on the eve of the year’s first major but the lower back strain that forced him to miss the ATP Cup seems to be improving and he heads into the last-eight clash without the loss of a set.
“I was able to win four matches already, so now I’m going to have a very tough opponent and need to play my best,” Nadal said after his fourth-round demolition of Fabio Fognini.
“I’m excited. If we compare how I was five days ago and now, it’s different, my perspective and excitement is different too.”
Meanwhile, Karolina Muchova said she was so dizzy she thought she was going to faint during her Australian Open quarter-final against Ash Barty before a lengthy medical timeout helped her regain her composure to turn the tables on the world No 1.
Home favourite and top seed Barty was leading by a set and a break when Muchova called for the timeout at a steamy Rod Laver Arena.
“I was feeling kind of dizzy at some point, like really lost and almost fainting. I just asked for help,” said Muchova, who won 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.
“They just checked my (blood) pressure because I was a bit lost, you know? I was spinning. So they cooled me down a bit with ice, and it helped me.”
Play resumed nine minutes later and a recharged Muchova found her feet almost immediately, breaking Barty’s serve for the first time in the match.
With shortened rallies and bold shot-making, Muchova went on to break her opponent twice in the final set to reach a Grand Slam semi for the first time.