Rafael Nadal has the opportunity to win his second Australian Open on Sunday after making the final with a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. The young Greek was confident coming into the match that he could compete well but it was a one-sided affair, with Nadal not even needing 2 hours to complete a 6-4 6-2 6-0 victory.
Nadal’s fortnight had been perfect so far with no sets dropped but there was the feeling that Tsitipas could do something to change that. However, an early break set the tone for the rest of the match as he struggled to keep up with the No.2 from the baseline.
Tsitsipas kept it more respectable in the second set but was still always on the backfoot. Having saved 0-40 midway through the set, he could not do so again at 4-4. A disappointing volley into the net gave Nadal the set and break lead, giving the Spaniard the impetus to run away with the match. He would win the last 9 games of the match to move into the final, where Novak Djokovic or Lucas Pouille awaits. A sign of his dominance, Nadal did not face a break point until the last game of the match – saving it before sealing the win on his first match point. “Probably the backhand was better today than the rest of the days. That’s important for me, too, because the forehand was working fantastic during the whole week, week and a half, but the backhand was improving during the tournament. Tonight was even better than the previous rounds, no?” Nadal assessed. “In general terms of course I have to be very happy about the way that I played.”
“Honestly, I have no idea what I can take from that match. It’s not that I was even close to get to something. I only got six games from that match.” said a conflicted Tsitsipas, who will be World No.12 on Monday. “I don’t know, I feel very strange. I feel happy with my performance in this tournament, but at the same time I feel disappointed. I feel like I could do a bit better today.”
For Nadal, there will be tougher times ahead with Novak Djokovic expected to reignite their rivalry on Sunday.