Australian Open: Rafael Nadal beats Berrettini to reach final | Inquirer Sports
Close  

Australian Open: Rafael Nadal beats Berrettini to reach final

/ 02:48 PM January 28, 2022
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the men's singles semi-final match against Italy's Matteo Berrettini on day twelve of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 28, 2022.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the men’s singles semi-final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini on day twelve of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 28, 2022. (Photo by Martin KEEP / AFP)

MELBOURNE—Rafael Nadal stood one win away from a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title after overpowering Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 on Friday to reach the Australian Open final.

A win for the Spaniard in Sunday’s final against either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas will break a three-way tie with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and give him sole ownership of the record.

ADVERTISEMENT

With rain bucketing down outside, the 35-year-old Nadal made a fast start under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena and took control by breaking Wimbledon finalist Berrettini’s serve early in each of the first two sets.

Nadal’s vicious top-spin forehand did most of the damage early on, pinning Berrettini down behind the baseline and leaving him very little time to produce his big groundstrokes.

“I started the match playing great. First two sets have been one of the best so far since a long time,” Nadal said on court.

“I know how good is Matteo. He’s a very solid player, very dangerous. In the third I knew at some point he’s gonna go for the shots.

“We need to suffer and we need to fight. That is the only way to be where I am today. Honestly, it means a lot to me to be in the final here again.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Just when it looked as if the match would go the same way as their only previous meeting, when Nadal won in straight sets at the 2019 U.S. Open, Berrettini came alive.

 Italy's Matteo Berrettini in action during his semi final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 28, 2022 Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in action during his semi final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

He started forcing Nadal back with heavy forehands in the third set and a first break of serve for the 25-year-old Italian in the eighth game forced a fourth.

Nadal then got the crucial break in the eighth game as the Italian’s unforced errors increased and another mistake — his 39th compared to his opponent’s 19 — allowed the 2009 champion to convert his first matchpoint after a battle that lasted two hours and 55 minutes.

It will be the 29th major final for Nadal on Sunday and a second title at Melbourne Park would make him only the second man after Djokovic to win every Grand Slam title twice since the sport became professional in 1968.

“I have been a little bit unlucky during my career with some injuries and other times I played amazing finals with good chances,” said Nadal, who will play in his sixth Australian Open final. “I was close a couple of times.

“I feel very lucky that I won once in my career in 2009 but I never thought about another chance in 2022.”

RELATED STORIES
Australian Open: Rafael Nadal dispels doubts in shades of Federer’s 2017 campaign

Rafael Nadal doubted ‘every single day’ whether he would return

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Australian Open, Grand Slam, Rafael Nadal
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.