Nadal loses to Tsitsipas in 5 sets at Australian Open. For the 225th in his stellar career, Rafael Nadal holds the lead in the Grand Slam game. It was only the second time, he had hit that big limit and lost.
A few mysterious headaches and a backhand placed on a third-tiered tiebreaker began to end Nadal, and his bid for the 21st men’s tournament ended in the quarterfinals of the Open Open on Wednesday at 3-6, 2-6, 7- 6 (4), 6-4, 7-5 defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas.
In putting his ball where he wanted to go first, Nadal progressed easily, scoring 27 consecutive points in his career at the same time and driving his set of consecutive wins in 35 major tournaments, ashamed of Roger Federer’s professional record.
Nadal and Federer are currently tied for 20 Grand Slam titles, more than anyone else in tennis history.
But Tsitsipas did not waver in the fact that that horrible wreck of a horrible 34-year-old Nadal made him – thinking too far ahead, perhaps? – help deliver the third set and start the epic return.
The only time Nadal went from double-edged edges to losing to Islam at the 2015 US Open against Fabio Fognini (defeated by Nadal in the fourth round at Melbourne Park this year).
So now, instead of Nadal trying to continue his pursuit of Federer, it will be Tsitsipas – a 22-year-old Greek with a spectacular game – who will meet Daniel Medvedev who ran 2019 in the US in the semi-finals on Friday.
Neither Tsitsipas and Medvedev have won the Grand Slam.
In another men’s semi-final, the 17th champion and Novak Djokovic number 1 will face 114th-placed Aslan Karatsev, who makes his debut in the Grand Slam.
Women’s finalists on Thursday (Wednesday night EST) are Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, Jennifer Brady and Karolina Muchova.
Nadal entered the first round this year with doubts about his back, citing that as his reason for withdrawing from the ATP Cup team that preceded the Australian Open and said the problem was preventing him from getting used to it for about three weeks.
But he hadn’t left the set at Melbourne Park for four games; he won all 21 sets he played in last year’s French Open, where he took his 20th Islamic Cup to draw even Federer (Williams 23rd, Margaret Court 24).
Federer did not compete for more than a year after undergoing double knee surgery.
With seagulls entering the sea offering an unusual night song at the Rod Laver Arena – but no spectators, as they were banned during the COVID-19 shutdown, and will not return until Thursday – Nadal always had an answer to whatever Tsitsipas tried at first.
Speed up the net? Here’s a passing shotgun. Join the first base? We wish you the best of luck in trying to get Nadal out of there.
It looked like it could be a repeat of their semi-final in Australia, where Nadal defeated Tsitsipas and allowed him to win just six games.
But this time, Tsitsipas came in after three full days after his rest, because the man was going to face in the fourth round, No. 9 Matteo Berrettini, which got withdrew due to a stomach injury.
That – and the 12-year difference – could have contributed to Tsitsipas’ recovery from the move as they played more than four hours. Tsitsipas, who has been touted as the star of the future for years, almost released this kind of shock against Djokovic in the France Open semi-finals in October, from two sets to forced a fifth.
Tsitsipas failed to close the agreement at that time.
He acted against Nadal.
Tsitsipas went 6-5 on aggregate with a broken love when Nadal hit a series of shots, then passed the win by turning his point into a third game with a backhand winner.