Nadal Holds Off Shapovalov, Berrettini Wins In 5 At Australian Open; Medvedev-FAA Rematch

by Staff | January 25th, 2022, 10:38 am

A weary Rafael Nadal had to dig deep to keep his Australian Open hopes alive. The former No. 1 went the distance to beat Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 in just over four hours.

Early on, Nadal was in full control of his fellow lefty, punishing Shapovalov with his lethal forehand.

Shapovalov tried to make inroads, complaining to the umpire about Nadal’s time wasting. Rafa, though, was undeterred.

Up two sets and well on his way to a seventh Australian Open quarterfinal, things took a turn. Shapovalov’s form improved and he got a break. In the 90 degree heat, Nadal began to fade.

Shapovalov took the third and early in the fourth, Nadal was in distress. There wasn’t much emotion and the Spaniard wasn’t even running for shots.

Nadal saw the trainer down 4-1 in the fourth for what turned out to be a stomach issues. He let the fourth set go.

After the fourth, Nadal left the court for more treatment and returned a new man. He avoided early break points then, with the momentum back on his side, Nadal managed a quick break and held a nervy game for a 3-0. Then with the tablets kicking in, Nadal’s rode his serve — which misfired on a career-high 11 double faults — to a 36th Grand Slam semifinal.

“I was completely destroyed after that,” Nadal told the crowd. “Very tough day, very warm.”

Nadal will be grateful to have two full days off before returning Friday.

“After these matches, it’s great to have two days off,” said Nadal.

“I hope and I really believe I am going to be ready for the semifinals.”

And it sounds like Nadal’s stomach issue is temporary.

“I started to not feel very well in my stomach, so I just asked if they can do something,” said Nadal.

“They just checked that everything was alright on my body and then I took some tablets to try to improve the stomach problem I had. That’s all.”

Shapovalov, who played so well to get to a fifth, fell just short of a second Grand Slam semifinal.

“I’m happy with the way I was able to fight and come back,” Shapovalov said. “I definitely found my game late in the third and in the fourth. It’s good to have more time at the Grand Slams to have opportunities to try to find your game. Good tournament for me overall.

“Rafa did a good job in the last set,” he added. “Once he broke, he held his service games and served really big. He’s obviously putting a lot of pressure on you and making a lot of balls and playing aggressively when needed. Maybe other opponents would give me a little bit more freedom. It was definitely tricky.”

Nadal will now meet Matteo Berrettini. The Italian and Gael Monfils played another 5-setter and again it was Berrettini coming out ahead 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2.

“It feels unbelievable,” Berrettini said on court. “I am really happy for myself. What a great fight against Gael. It was a great match with a lot of emotions. I thought I had him in the third set and then I found myself in the fifth. But I really fought hard and put everything on the court and that is why I am really happy.”

Berrettini is the first Italian man to make the semifinals at the Australian Open and the fifth of his career. In his first Slam semifinal, he faced Nadal at the US Open.

“That was the only time I’ve played Rafa and was a really tough match for me,” said Berrettini.

“He won the tournament afterwards. Was my first semifinals. I didn’t really know what to expect and even though the first set I had set points, so I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a great fight.

“He played five sets as well today. So he needs to rest as well.”

Berrettini could be joined in the last four by Jannik Sinner who will battle Stefanos Tsitsipas. And also today, Daniil Medvedev returns to meet Felix Auger Aliassime in a rematch of their one-sided US Open semifinal.

Rod Laver Arena
Day session – From 11am
D. Collins 27 v A. Cornet
Day session – Not before 1pm
I. Swiatek 7 v K. Kanepi
Day session – Not before 3pm
J. Sinner 11 v S. Tsitsipas 4
Night session – From 7:30pm
F. Auger-Aliassime 9 v D. Medvedev 2
L. Hradecka/G. Escobar v J. Fourlis/J. Kubler WC

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4 Comments for Nadal Holds Off Shapovalov, Berrettini Wins In 5 At Australian Open; Medvedev-FAA Rematch

skeezer Says:

Gael put up a great fight, Berretini was the better man this match.
Too much focused on the drama of the Rafa/Deni match, but it was a great contest.

AU Tennis rocks!

Graham Says:

Shapovalov was 100% correct to say what he said.
Rafa and Novax have been protected and would never have won the amount of GS they have if rules had been applied.
That’s why Federer is the GOAT.
Hook, line and sinker!

lylenubbins Says:

Liking Mateo’s chances against Rafa. Playing very well and Rafa lacks matches.

Madmax Says:

It’s a great AO so far, and what a match between Rafa, (how does he do it?). I thought Shapo was on his tail for most of the tournament, and he had a chance, but Rafa’s experience will always come through. He is amazing. Truly.

Graham, we know that the Fed is the Goat. We know it. We feel it.

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