Australian Open 2022: Rafael Nadal is gunning for his 21st Grand Slam and has managed to Reach Quarterfinals defeating Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
He has played the Australian Open quarterfinals 14 times and moves to his 7th Semifinals. Although it took him around four hours and seven minutes to overcome the Canadian. He was battling not only a healthy Shapovalov but his own Abdominal injury too.
In the end, he survived an inspired comeback from the 14th seed and a troubled stomach to avoid the upset. One year after surrendering a two-set lead to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the same stage, Nadal was able to summon a late surge to avoid a sequel.
The final set was played strategically by the Spaniard. Getting the break just in the second game of the set, he had to hold three break points in his service game. Reserving his energy for his service games, some clutch shots at the end was enough.
Nadal did not face a breakpoint until the third set. With temperatures as high as 32 degrees Celsius on the court, his heavy ground game benefitted from bouncy conditions early on the show court. He was at his best in medium-length rallies, amassing a 37 to 16 edge on exchanges of five to eight balls.
The first set was pure domination from the one-time Australian Open winner. Winning his first five service games as he coupled with a break at love in the fourth game.
Shapovalov did manage to win three straight games but Nadal was the one to back off as he closed the set. The same was to be said for the second set too as it was too a repeat of the first one.
The Canadian then changed the gears as he played with increased aggression. The Canadian finally made his breakthrough with Nadal serving to stay in the set, with a backhand winner sealing the set after more attacking play forced two Nadal errors.
It was only getting better for the Canadian as he set up a final set fight. The Vintage Nadal was up to seal to the game for his record 21st title and he did show up like a champion.
The 35-year-old will take on either seventh seed Matteo Berrettini or Frenchman Gael Monfils in the semi-finals, with those men set to compete in Tuesday’s Laver nightcap. The men’s semi-finals are set for Friday in Melbourne, giving Nadal two full days to recover.