Nadal Beats Berrettini, Medvedev Outwits Tsitsipas In Australian Open SFs

by Staff | January 28th, 2022, 5:27 pm
  • 60 Comments

Rafael Nadal hung on to upend Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 Friday at the Australian Open to reach his sixth final at the first Grand Slam of the season.

Using his forehand-to-backhand attack, Nadal dominated the Italian early on. Off his backhand wing, Berrettini had no answer for Nadal’s heavy forehand, and he struggled on his second serve.

Up two sets in full command, things got tight. Berrettini found a grove and managed to grab a break. And used his serve and improving forehand to force a third. Berrettini was following. The 25-year-old rattled off five consecutive love holds and 23 straight on serve (both streaks began late in the third) to pressure Nadal who was starting feel the tension.

Serving 4-5 in the fourth, Berrettini finally blinked. Four unforced errors out of nowhere sunk Berrettini, and Nadal served it out to reach his 29th career Grand Slam final.

“I started the match playing great,” said Nadal. “The first two sets were two of the best for a long time. I know how good Matteo is, he’s a very solid player, very dangerous. In the third I knew at some point he was going to go for his shots. We needed to suffer, we needed to fight, we fought again and that’s the only way to be where I am today. It means a lot to me to be in the final again here.”

Berrettini still has never beaten a Top 10 player in Slam, and he falls to 0-8 against the Big 3.

“It was the first time that I played under the roof,” said Berrettini. “It was different conditions. I struggled. At the beginning I couldn’t really find the rhythm. It took me a while to adapt, but at the same time Rafa was playing really well.

“I don’t think I have to say anything about my tennis in the third and the fourth,” he said. “I think it was a really good fight. I was playing good tennis and he was playing good tennis. I think it was fun to watch, I was having fun playing it.

“The first two sets weren’t what I expected, what I wanted from myself. I wouldn’t say I was flat, but I wasn’t in the right mood, in the right mental mindset, for many reasons. I think for the first time I’m in the semi-finals, against Rafa, it was good that I had a really good reaction. This is the thing that I’m most proud and happy about.”

Nadal, who also won his 500th career hard court match, is now just three sets from No. 21 and a second Career Slam. Quite an effort from someone who was close to retiring a few months ago due to a lingering foot issue.

“It’s amazing, and I’m super happy to be able to compete for the past three weeks at the level that I am doing,” Nadal said. “It’s surprising for me to be able to play at the level that I am playing. Just competing and playing tennis at this high level again, facing the most important players of the world, it’s unbelievable.

“For me, it’s something completely unexpected, so I am super happy. I always try my best. My goal now is to win. I am taking things in a little bit of a different way now. Of course, with the competitive spirit that I have, I can’t go against that. It’s my personal DNA. But in some ways, be able to have the chance to compete at this level, it’s positive energy for me to keep going, because being very honest, for me it is much more important to have the chance to play tennis than win number 21.”

The second semifinal also went four sets with Daniil Medvedev coming out on top 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to deny Stefanos Tsitsipas for a second straight year in the semifinal.

In a fast-paced first set, Medvedev dominated on his serve but Tsitsipas was just as tough. Tsitsipas had an early lead in the breaker before the Russian won six of the last seven points from 4-1 down.

Tsitsipas would brush it off and break Medvedev to start the second but later lose the break. At 4-all, Tsitsipas would get another break, and then on the changover Medvedev exploded at the chair umpire alleging Tsitsipas was getting coaching.

Tsitsipas wouldn’t take the bit and took the second.

Medvedev, fueled by anger, began adding pace to his shots and serve. He was save two break points to start the set and eventually would break Tsitsipas to take it.

In the fourth, it was all Medvedev who won the last five games of the match.

“Some matches are very even,” Medvedev told the crowd. “I missed some balls at a few moments where I could have got a break and he missed a few at the start of the third set. Then from 5-4 in the third I just found some momentum and started to read his serve and put every ball in. I hit some very important passing shots and his energy went down because of this and my energy went up.”

Tsitsipas falls to 2-7 against his rival and 0-3 in the Australian Open semifinals.

“I played way better than I did last time,” Tsitsipas said. “Last year I was completely cooked and exhausted after that five-set match with Rafa. I wasn’t able to recover the way I wanted to recover, and this year I was really into it from the very first point.

“I felt good with my shots, felt good mentally, I felt good in terms of belief and in terms of feeling that passion in the court. I was very close. The first tie-break was an important one. I feel like I could have won that one. Maybe should have followed a different tactic. But again lesson. I think it would have been a different match winning that first set.

“I have a long season ahead of me, with a lot of opportunities,” he added. “I’m going to try and grab and get the best out of my tennis and get the best out of this experience, so that I can always work towards and help myself improve physically, mentally and improve my game generally. I see today’s performance as a lesson that I can use to move forward.”

Medvedev, who saved a match point in his quarterfinal win over Felix Auger Aliassime, is ready for a rematch with Nadal.

“I am going to play again against one of the greatest and against someone going for their 21st Grand Slam. Grand Slam finals are special and I can remember the final against Rafa at the US Open,” he said. “It was my first final and we played for about five hours. We have played a few matches since then and I am ready.”


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60 Comments for Nadal Beats Berrettini, Medvedev Outwits Tsitsipas In Australian Open SFs

Zed Says:

It’s almost like governments are changing rules based on one man. Surely that isn’t plausible?

In any case, we are seeing pushback increasing. Huge truck convoys in Canada, many mass protests in France, Australia etc.

The Davos elites will have to crack down harder and funnel more funds if they are to put a lid on things.

I would like to think that individual freedoms will win out but I can’t see the elites simply shrugging their shoulders and giving up their dreams. They are playing the long game for total control, “you will own nothing and you will be happy”.

Even if they have to lose a battle here or there, in the long term they want to win the whole shooting match.

I’ll be long dead if/when there is a result.


Madmax Says:

Skeezer,

This is not the way I want Novak to “end” his career. No. No. His talent is too vast. Yes, everyone needs to make a decision for themselves, their lives, but this is tennis and not just about his life. Therefore he needed to think of others in this beautiful sport and I hope somewhere, he will reflect deeply, for he is a spiritual person, and come back.

We can only speculate on this, but Novak has to really think about his future now.


Van Persie Says:

Nice to see, that even before the AO final, where Nole does not participate, he’s still the main topic here. But this is normal, as he is still the Alpha :) As a Nole fan, I am pleased about that ;)

Regarding tomorrow: Med is the overwhelming fave. Rafa is not the player from 2019, he is much slower, and Medveded did progress a lot. Cannot see Rafa pull a Roger from 2017. When Roger came back, he did some changes in his game (his Backhand was much better), there was some progress, one cannot say the same about the spaniard, where I could not see any improvement.

Davai Daniil!


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/djokersa/status/1487452177677365250?s=21
Lol. He certainly is the main topic but not in a nice way!


Van Persie Says:

Giles,

Make sure you are not running out today on material about Nole, might need it tomorrow when your guy will lose his match😉.


Giles Says:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/59999541 Here’s some more shite on joker. Lol.
VP. Rafa. might lose or Rafa might win. We’ll see. But at least your man will not have the pleasure of competing will he? Oh, he was deported wasn’t he!! Great stuff. That in itself makes me very happy. ROFL


Van Persie Says:

I get it Giles, your hate for Nole is bigger than your love for Rafa. Keep on reading the tweets about Nole and have fun 🙂


Andy Mira Says:

Hi VP!…Err re.yor article at 10:30am…I think u were wrong there VP…Take a look at this article…

https://www.atptour.com/en/news/nadal-australian-open-2022-serve-feature

True…he is much slower now..that’s why he added a few changes to his game…If u watch him play now,u can see that he is stepping up much closer to the baseline to return serve..esp on his opponents 2nd serve in order to be aggressive with his return & put a pressure to his opponents & of coz to shorten the points..He also earned many points with his much improved 2nd serves too! & saved him many crucial BP’s at important moments…All the changes working really well so far VP..so,it’s not true Rafa don’t make improvement to his game ..He did!..I just hope it will work once again today!…Vamos Rafa!


Zed Says:

What a nasty and small person Giles is, I’m guessing there isn’t a happy life there.


Zed Says:

It’s only the third game and already Rafa is dragging things out. He just stopped play asking that his own sweat be mopped up by the ball girl.

Can he keep doing stuff like that hour after hour?


Van Persie Says:

Andy Mira,

I do not notice those improvemwnts as Rafa relied on his serve much more then usual starting with 2019 or 2020 already. And it does not help against Medvedev as I can see.


Van Persie Says:

Davai Daniil, himiliate him!!!!


Zed Says:

It’s early days and there’s a long way to go but in this early stage Daniil seems to be cruising whilst Rafa seems to be struggling.

Of course the guy didn’t win 20 Grand Slams without being able to come back strongly when things look dire so no way am I counting him out.

However, it was inevitable that at some time or other the big 3 had to hand over the torch to the younger generation and with Daniil maybe taking his second slam in a row this evening, that time may have arrived/

Daniil just broke him a second time, 5 games to 2. Could this be a straight sets match?


JF Says:

I hate to say it but I think Rafa will loose in straight sets


JF Says:

Zed- Rafa was in the right to ask to have the sweat wiped up. Can’t you see the crazy amount of sweat dripping off him?


Zed Says:

JF, I did see it but my gut feel is it wasn’t about the sweat so much as buying time to catch his breath


Zed Says:

How often has anyone seen Rafa double fault this often?


JF Says:

Nadal’s double fault average is at his highest ever, I think.


Zed Says:

JF and others, I am curious which commentators you hear outside of Australia? Here in Australia we hear Leyton Hewitt and Jim Courier, who do you hear in your countries?


Jf Says:

I’m in the U.S. east coast and generally hear Brad Gilbert, John McEnroe and his brother, Dan Cahill, Pat Shriver.


Zed Says:

JF,

Cool, thanks for responding.


JF Says:

Maybe I expect too much from Nadal but I feel that he’s so mechanical that sometimes it goes against him. He plays tight, I see Medvedev play so freely and Nadal not so much. There are times that Nadal does go for broke and hits clean winners but most of the time it seems he can’t hit through players.


Zed Says:

I’m sensing that Daniil has started to doubt himself a tiny bit. He seems hesitant where in the first set he seemed smooth and carefree.

It’ll pass, he’ll get back into the groove but it may cost him this set.


Zed Says:

That was beautiful, he took control of the net and just kept advancing


Zed Says:

Some mad person ran onto the court, could have been Giles :)


Zed Says:

This set has been amazing with so many breaks, I can’t pick who’s going to take it.

If Daniil takes it I think it will then just be a matter of time but if Rafa takes this set then we have a long match ahead of us.


Giles Says:

Lol Zed. If I could I would but I’m a million miles away.


Zed Says:

Well there it is, second set.

I was expecting Daniil in 4, maybe it will be 3!


Van Persie Says:

Oh boy, I really enjoy this match🙂


Giles Says:

VP. Good for you. It’s time you had some joy what with your man being deported and not being able to defend his title which he may well have won making it 21. But alas he has to watch from the comfort of his sofa! Never mind!


Van Persie Says:

Giles,

I am sure Nole enjoys that too. When youvare right, you are right 😀


Zed Says:

VP, remember not to feed the trolls


Van Persie Says:

Zed,

Ok, I will stop it, but I was amused. Trolling is actually a part of internet sites. We are all allmighty and brave here🙂


Zed Says:

VP, yeah no problems. I just remember Wogboy telling me I was dealing with a mentally unbalanced person and since that time I keep seeing evidence that he was correct.


Giles Says:

Just wondering if that madman was Vajda? After all his fine coaching this is what it’s come to. His pupil deported and not able to compete in his fave slam. Tut tut. All because he wouldn’t take a vaccine. A bit stupid don’t you think? He thought he could cheat and lie his way to Australia. Silly silly man. Have a rest up joker , you deserve it! Lol


Van Persie Says:

5 sets or can Medvedev still finish this in 4?


Zed Says:

VP, when he got back on serve I thought he was going to surge from there but now he’s in trouble again.

If it goes to 5 then it comes down to fitness.


Van Persie Says:

Med waisted some break points. Let’s see if he can push this to 5-5.


Anto Says:

Unf***ing believable. Can rafa do the unthinkable? Win or lose Rafa fan till i die


Anto Says:

This is I i f***ing love tennis


Anto Says:

This is why I f***ing love tennis


Zed Says:

Here we go, 5th set. Anything can happen here.

Daniil needs to put it all behind him and start fresh.


Van Persie Says:

Zed, hope he thinks abou the Nole from 2012🙂


Zed Says:

VP, he just got broken again. Not sure if he has the emotional strength to overcome this now.


JF Says:

Come on Nadal!!


Zed Says:

Well that’s it, Daniil had every opportunity


Van Persie Says:

Yep, looks like Rafa did a Nole today, this is it.


JF Says:

Fkn incredible! Yesss


Giles Says:

What a Champ! Thats my Rafa
21 21, 21, 21, 21


Giles Says:

I would just like to thank the rafa fans on here for all your support. ( Lol I’m starting to sound like Rafa). It was amazing. Couldn’t be happier


skeezer Says:

Amazing. 10 years older than his opponent, looking gassed, but playing extremely smart, fittingly won his 21rst Grand Slam . Where no man has gone before. Congrats Rafa on a spectacular win.
Fabulous tournament.


Anto Says:

So happy nadal got the record breaking 21st GS and finally getting his second AO.
What a match and what a comeback. I dont know if I could have survived another long and extremely close match with Nadal losing that too in AO final, especially with the 21st slam on the line.


Zed Says:

Yep, great match to watch and very tense in that last set.

In all likelihood if Novak had not been prevented from playing this would have been his 21st Grand Slam but it is what it is.

The weasels may succeed in preventing him from playing in the French so you’d have to see Rafa as the favourite for that, taking him to his 22nd. However, if Novak is not prevented from playing he will take the French Open.

In any case, Wimbeldon lies ahead and that’s Novak’s without question.

US Open, I am not so sure what will happen as we need to see the results of the mid term elections. Hopefully the crazies will be routed but with no consequences for rampant election-fixing in that country I’m not holding my breath.


John Says:

”In all likelihood if Novak had not been prevented from playing this would have been his 21st Grand Slam but it is what it is.”

”The weasels may succeed in preventing him from playing in the French so you’d have to see Rafa as the favourite for that, taking him to his 22nd. ”

You are the weasel. Jealous adult Man child. It must be eating you up.

Congrats RAFA and FANS!


John Says:

Hey @Zed

I guess Rafa is the GOAT now no?

Numbers don’t lie #21

Anyone that cant admit that is just a dishonest fanboy


Zed Says:

John, nope, according to Ultimate Tennis Statistics Rafa remains solidly at number #3 despite the Grand Slam win.

https://www.ultimatetennisstatistics.com/goatList

But wait! Let me beat you to the punch, you don’t care about things like numbers and statistics you prefer to go with your feelings. Am I right?


chrisford1 Says:

John – You are being “Slamcentric” as in you think only 4 events exist on the pro tour that form the basis for evaluating a player’s career.
Tomic, Ferrer, the guy from Tajikistan only on tour 2 months, Donald Young, Verdasco, Mardy Fish, Jo Tsonga all on the lowest level from never winning a Slam – all the same.
Then we get to the one-Slam wonders like Andy Roddick and Marin Cilic. Players automatically greater than players with no Slams.
And then the ranking of all players that won more than one Slam on up to Nadal. Ignoring championships, Masters, ATP 500s, Olympics as minor things.
And those are just the titles. Being “Slamcentric” and only crediting the winners totally overlooks the players of consistent excellence that make the 3rd, 4th rounds regularly, the QFs, the SFs, the RUPs.
Why not celebrate Nadal’s great match for just what it is – a classic match of two brilliant players – with Nadal prevailing on the thinnest of margins. Medvedev was playing well, playing his heart out, a very worthy foe.

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