- Rafael Nadal is through to the 25th Grand Slam final of his career and is just one match away from his 18th title.
- He blew through his 20-year-old Greek opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in the Australian Open semi-final.
- Nadal entered the competition in Melbourne under a cloud of injury after pulling out of the Brisbane International at the start of January.
- In the tunnel after Thursday’s match, the player was filmed breaking down in tears as he made his way out of the Rod Laver Arena.
- He will either take on his old adversary Novak Djokovic or first-time semi-finalist Lucas Pouille in the final on Sunday.
Rafael Nadal is one match away from his 18th Grand Slam title.
The Spaniard obliterated his 20-year-old Greek opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in the Australian Open semi-final that lasted just one hour and 46 minutes.
Nadal will either take on his old adversary Novak Djokovic, who has taken the trophy in Australia six times already, or first-time semi-finalist Lucas Pouille in the final on Sunday.
Despite making it to the Australian Open final five times, Nadal has only won the title once – and that was 10 years ago.
Nadal entered the competition in Melbourne under a cloud of injury after a thigh strain forced him to pull out of the Brisbane International at the start of January.
The 32-year-old also missed November’s ATP Finals to have ankle surgery, having also had an abdominal muscle problem.
“It has been a great match, great tournament,” Nadal said in his post-match interview with John McEnroe, according to USA Today. I think I played very well every day. After a lot of months without playing, this court and this crowd have given me this unbelievable energy.
“To start the season like this when a few weeks ago when I was in Brisbane, having to take a very tough decision not to play there. In that moment it was difficult for me to imagine where I am today. Since the tournament started I’ve felt really, really well.”
You could see how much the victory in the face of adversity meant to Nadal as he headed back down the tunnel after the match.
The footage, posted by the Australian Open on Twitter, showed the player briefly overcome with emotion before he wiped his face and composed himself.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2019
Nadal goes into the final having not dropped a single set in the tournament so far. If he wins, he’ll become the first man in the open era to win each of the four grand slam titles twice, according to CNN.
He’ll also go within two trophies of Roger Federer’s record 20 major titles.
Djokovic and Pouille face up on Friday, where Nadal’s final opponent will be decided.
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