After the bizarre spectacle surrounding Novak Djokovic’s ultimately refused entry, not many believed that the Australian Open would end with a man trying to win his 21st Grand Slam title. Not even Rafael Nadal himself. After yesterday’s 6: 3, 6: 2, 3: 6, 6: 3 in the semifinals over Matteo Berrettini tomorrow (9.30 a.m. live on Eurosport), the Spaniard is actually about the sole top position in the all-time leaderboard of most major wins. Daniil Medvedev, who showed Stefanos Tsi-tsipas the limits with 7: 6 (5), 4: 6, 6: 4 and 6: 1, stands in the way.
13 years after his only Melbourne title so far, Nadal unexpectedly has the chance to follow suit. “A month and a half ago I didn’t know if I’d be able to get back on the tour because we couldn’t solve the problem,” the 35-year-old alluded to Müller-Weiss syndrome. The scaphoid deforms in the foot, which put Nadal out of action for months. It was only in December that he reported back with an exhibition in Abu Dhabi. To make matters worse, the Mallorquin caught a corona infection there.
Tough months are behind Nadal, who now sees things a little differently – a little more relaxed: “It’s a gift just to be here and play tennis. At the end of the day, I’ll be honest, it’s more important to me having the chance to play tennis again than winning the 21st title.”
The bull still has power
The win over Berrettini was Nadal’s 500th on hard as well as his 50th success at a Major over a top ten player. He described himself as “destroyed” after the five-set thriller in the quarterfinals against Denis Shapovalov. Against the Canadian, Nadal broke down physically in the third set due to stomach problems. Against this backdrop, the veteran star benefited when the rain dropped the temperature from 32 to 22 degrees ahead of the semi-finals.
However, some of Medvedev’s comments were heated when he defeated Tsitsipas. The second-seeded Russian complained to referee Jaume Campistol that he should punish the Greek’s father for illegal coaching. “You’re so bad, man” and “How can you be so bad in the semifinals of a Grand Slam?” Medvedev scolded the referee. In the fourth set, the reigning US Open winner closed the sack. Immediately after the first major title of his career, Andy Murray (2013 in Melbourne) was the only player in modern tennis to get back into a Grand Slam final.
Djokovic has called for Dubai
If Medvedev wins the final, he will replace Novak Djokovic at the top of the world rankings. If the game goes to Nadal, he is the sole Grand Slam record holder ahead of the Serb and Roger Federer. A starting position in which “Djoker” can only lose. “I think Novak will also watch this match,” Medvedev said yesterday with a grin.
After his expulsion from Australia, Djokovic took a break in his home country. As it became known yesterday, he will return to the tour at the ATP tournament in Dubai on February 14-26. The unvaccinated 34-year-old has won the event in the Emirates five times so far.
Linz semi-finalist Danielle Collins dreams of the sensation in Melbourne
Unexpectedly comes often. Danielle Collins has long since exceeded her expectations at the Australian Open in Melbourne and sensationally reached the final. Today (9.30 a.m., ServusTV) the 28-year-old is a blatant outsider against local hero Ashleigh Barty, the tennis world number one stormed into the final without losing a set and could Australia win its first home Grand Slam title since 1978 – at that time Chris O? ?Neill – give. “I’m going to come out and enjoy it with a big grin on my face,” Barty insisted, not feeling any pressure on the outside. The 25-year-old already has two major triumphs to her credit, winning the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon the previous year.
Collins is no stranger to Austrian tennis fans. The number 30 in the world hit the Upper Austria Ladies in the TipsArena in Linz in November 2021, where an injury only stopped her in the semifinals. Collins had to give up against compatriot Alison Riske at a score of 5:7. Riske should secure the trophy on the Gugl a day later. This time Collins is fit and ready to tease the highly favored Barty. Once she did it very well. Although Barty leads 3: 1 head-to-head, the most recent showdown on February 24, 2021 in Adelaide went to Collins, who had the upper hand 6: 3, 6: 4. Today the cards are reshuffled.