Nadal Slams Tsitsipas To Reach 5th Australian Open Final
by Staff | January 24th, 2019, 7:27 am

On a sweltering semifinal Thursday night at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal gave another free lesson to highly touted rising star, Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Already having clobbered Alex de Minaur and Frances Tiafoe, the Greek was thought to be a much more formidable foe. He had just soundly defeated Roger Federer and Roberto Bautista Agut. He had won titles. He had beaten Novak Djokovic before and he nearly took a set off Nadal in the Canadian Open final last summer.

He was going to push Nadal!

Except, that never happened. Not even close.

Nadal, just as he has done all tournament, used that new serve of his to dictate play and free up his baseline game even more, also his return game. No longer is Rafa required to grind out long points. Tonight it was his big serve that set up a quick put away just a few shots later, time and time again.

And the 20-year-old had no solution to stop it. Nadal rolled in dominant fashion, only facing one break point (coming in the last game), to win it 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in just 1 hour, 46 minutes.

“I played well, of course,” said Nadal. “I have been playing well during the whole event. Every match, more or less, I think I did a lot of things well. Tonight, was another one. I played solid – with my serve, playing aggressive. Probably the backhand was better today than the rest of the days.”

Nadal won the last nine games of the match and in the final set held a jaw-dropping 25-8 points advantage.

“When you serve great, then the first ball normally is a little bit easier,” added Nadal. “That’s probably the only reason. I had the determination to make that happen. That’s all.”

Tsitsipas had some success early in the second, hammering forehands and putting away some nice volleys. But he couldn’t really get into any of Nadal’s service games and was outclassed from the baseline.

“Honestly, I have no idea what I can take from that match,” said Tsitsipas. “It’s not that I was even close to get to something. I only got six games from that match. I feel very strange. I feel happy with my performance in this tournament, but at the same time I feel disappointed. I feel like I could do a bit better today. I don’t know. That’s how I felt. But it’s a very, very weird feeling. Almost felt like just couldn’t play better.”

Nadal, who hasn’t dropped a set all event, will now have two days off – like he needs it – before facing the Djokovic-Pouille winner for the title.

“All semifinals are interesting and tough,” Nadal said. “Novak is the favourite now, and he’s been in that position so many times. For Lucas, it’s the first one, but he won an amazing quarterfinal match and is playing so well.

“I always thought that Lucas is one of these players with amazing potential. He can beat everybody when he’s playing well. So let’s see. It’s true that Novak is unbelievable, so for Lucas it will be difficult, but it’s a tennis match – anything can happen.”

Rafa’s into his 25th career Grand Slam final and 5th in Australia. If he wins Sunday, he wins his 18th Slam and becomes the first player in the Open Era (and third in history) to win all four Slams twice!

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8 Comments for Nadal Slams Tsitsipas To Reach 5th Australian Open Final

PK Says:

It’s hard to imagine Nadal even losing a set on his way to the trophy in Melbourne. He looks absolutely impervious to anything the other players throw at him.

lylenubbins Says:

Cool that Rafa has changed his game with the bigger serve and more aggressive approach. His playbook used to be to bomb the one handed backhand but against Tsisi not so much.

Rafa is kind of like Roger with his revamped backhand. Great athletes and competitors. Hope for Rafa it prolongs the career and helps him get a couple more majors.

Whether it works against Nole is a different question . . .

fred stone Says:

So why does the number 2 seed get a two day break before the final?
I thought that was reserved (also unfairly) for the number 1 seed.

PS The Greek had nothing left after his two Herculean efforts defeating Fed and Agut.
Djoker has a better return of serve and variety of shot-making to take care of and defeat the muscle-shirt.

Czarlazar Says:

Rafa looks scary good ATM, but arguably hasn’t faced anyone with the required cojone size to give him a proper test. Federer would’ve put up more resistance and fans missed out on a much better show had the master made the SF rather than apprentice Tsitsipas. The main reason I’d hesitate to crown Nadal prematurely is Novak has a winning HTH, has met him dozens of times on every surface and fears him not. Still giving the Serbian warrior the edge in the final.

lylenubbins Says:

@ Fred: agree Nole is a different level, Rafa is the underdog despite his level atm. I was expecting Tsisi to be more gassed than he was

@czar: agree but I’m rooting for Rafa, he’s my favorite generally plus I want revenge for Wimbledon

chrisford1 Says:

PK – There are the other players – Rafa owns them. And then there is Novak Djokovic. He is not through Pouille yet, so who knows? But while Nadal is playing far better than anyone else at the AO inc. Novak, and deserves to be the favorite – something happens when Novak and Rafa see each other across the net. They elevate their game and play on guts and heart.

Wog Boy Says:

Nole has to win first set if he is to have a chance to win the match. He has to put doubt in Rafa’s had and remind him who stoped him from becaming undisputed GOAT.

But Nole has first to win tonight, it won’t be easy, Frenchie is fired up, playing with confidence and has Mauresmo, though have to admit, Raonic was playing nowhere near good as he played against Kyrgios, Wawrinka and Zverev, I have seen all of his matches and last one was by far the worst, but he had toughest draw of all.

Wog Boy Says:

Agree about Greek, he had nothing left in the tank, he spent to many hours on Melbourne sun, he even needed 4 sets to beat Troicki on another hot Melbourne day.
His time is coming, I have no doubt about it.

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