Rafael Nadal blasts past Matteo Berrettini for shot at historic Slam glory
Rafael Nadal will fight the Australian Open final as he looks to claim a 21st Slam crown to stand alone from fellow GOAT contenders Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
The 20-time Major winner came into his 36th career Slam semi-final with a dominant 28-7 record in his previous battles at the stage.
As such, Berrettini had a huge task to overcome the Spaniard and reach his second Slam final in three events after his maiden Major championship match at last year’s Wimbledon.
Nadal showed his comparatively far more vast experience at this level versus the Italian, proving too strong for the world number seven, winning 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
The result means that the 35-year-old is into an astonishing 29th Slam final, his sixth at the Australian Open.
Should Nadal go one step further and win the event, not only would he overtake Federer and Djokovic with his Major tally, but he would also equal Djokovic’s feat of achieving the Double Career Grand Slam, or winning all four Majors at least twice.
The world number six currently has 13 Roland Garros titles, two Wimbledon crowns and four US Open trophies, but just one Australian Open title, from 13 years ago in 2009.
His opponent will be either world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas or US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.
Nadal leads his two head-to-heads with the pair 7-2 and 3-1 respectively, having faced each in certifiable epics in the past.
Rafa and Medvedev have met in a Slam final once before, at the 2019 US Open, where the Russian rallied from two sets to love down but ultimately lost to the Spaniard as he claimed his 19th Major crown.
Nadal’s last two meetings with Tsitsipas both came in 2021, the first in the Australian Open quarter-finals where the Greek pulled off a stunning comeback win from two sets to love down.
Their most recent meeting was in the final of the ATP 500 Barcelona Open, which Nadal won after three hours and 38 minutes on court, making it the longest three-set ATP final ever by duration.
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