Rafael Nadal made quick work of 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open semifinals Thursday, cruising to a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to earn his fifth trip to the finals in Melbourne.
Nadal hit 28 winners and never faced a break point until the final game in dispatching the Greek phenom in 1 hour, 46 minutes on a sweltering night.
“It was a great match, and it’s been a great tournament,” said Nadal, who won the Open in 2009. “I’ve played well every day. After a lot of months without playing, it’s probably this court, this crowd, that is giving me that unbelievable energy.”
Nadal pounced on Tsitipas from the jump, breaking him twice in the opener. The Spaniard served notice early that Tsitsipas, who ousted Roger Federer from the tournament, wasn’t going to repeat that feat.
“It felt like a different dimension of tennis completely,” Tsitsipas said. “He gives you no rhythm. He plays just a different game style than the rest of the players. He has this, I don’t know, talent that no other player has. I’ve never seen a player have this. He makes you play bad.”
Nadal awaits Friday’s other semifinal between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and first-time Grand Slam semifinalist Lucas Pouille to find out who his opponent will be on Sunday.
“All semifinals are interesting and tough,” Nadal said. “Novak is the favorite now, and he’s been in that position so many times. For Lucas, it’s the first one, but he won an amazing quarterfinal match and is playing so well.
“I always thought that Lucas is one of these players with amazing potential. He can beat everybody when he’s playing well. So let’s see. It’s true that Novak is unbelievable, so for Lucas it will be difficult, but it’s a tennis match – anything can happen.”
Nadal will be playing for his second Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy on Sunday.
–Field Level Media