Rafael Nadal is one win away from record Grand Slam title after reaching Australian Open final

By Ben Church, CNN

Rafael Nadal is one victory away from claiming a record 21st Grand Slam title after the Spaniard reached the Australian Open final on Friday.

Nadal won his semi-final in impressive fashion after beating Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in four sets – 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 – and will now face either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.

Nadal currently shares the men’s singles Grand Slam record (20) with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but now has the chance to do better than his historical rivals.

The 35-year-old was keen to play down his chance to make history and says his only focus is on winning the Australian Open, a title he has only won once in the past. of his illustrious career.

“For me it’s all about the Australian Open first and foremost,” Nadal said after the match.

“It’s just an incredible event, as I said a few days ago I was a bit unlucky with some injuries.

“There were times when I played amazing finals with good chances – against Novak in 2012, against Roger 2017 – I was close a few times.

“I feel very lucky to have won once in my career in 2009, but I never thought of another chance in 2022.”

READ: Ashleigh Barty beats Madison Keys to advance to Australian Open final

“The best I’ve played in a long time”

There were questions about Nadal’s fitness ahead of the tournament after battling injuries and a bout with Covid-19 last year.

He also suffered from a five-set thriller against Denis Shapovalov in the quarter-finals, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion looked remarkably fresh against Berrettini.

With the Rod Laver Arena roof closed due to storms in Melbourne – creating an atmosphere that would no doubt have favored Berrettini – Nadal took a two-set lead after producing tennis he called “the best I’ve ever had.” I’ve been playing for a long time.” time.”

The Italian, known for his power, finally made it through by winning the third set but too many mistakes cost the 25-year-old and he couldn’t do much to quell Nadal’s intensity.

“We have to suffer and we have to fight. It’s the only way to be where I am today. Honestly, it means a lot to me to be in the final here again,” said Nadal, who will now prepare for the 29th Grand Slam final of his career.

The-CNN-Wire
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