He could have faced Zverev Nadal at the Australian Open. The Spanish tennis star has problems against the Hamburg conqueror, but he struggles through them. Shapovalov scolded in the match.
MELBOURNE – Rafael Nadal smiled but bent on accusations of rewarding a superstar after winning the semi-finals at the Australian Open.
With a display of strength over five sets and over four hours despite stomach issues, the veteran Spanish tennis player avoided the imminent end of Alexander Zverev’s conquest. Thanks to 6:3, 6:4, 4:6, 3:6, 6:3 against Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the 35-year-old got one step closer to the Grand Slam record. Shapovalov’s sermon about giving the referee preferential treatment to Nadal didn’t bother him at all on Tuesday in Melbourne.
Nadal said: “I’ve never felt that I have any advantages on the field and I think he’s really wrong. He’s young. We all make mistakes in our careers. I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger.” Perhaps Shapovalov will understand later that he was not right today.
When Nadal felt like it was taking too long after the first set before he showed up at the baseline ready to come back, Shapovalov was furious. The 22-year-old berated Brazilian referee Carlos Bernardes “You are all corrupt” when Nadal did not receive the warning he felt was necessary to exceed the time limit.
“I think at that moment Denis was angry because the referee called ‘time’ and it took about an extra 30 seconds to change my clothes,” Nadal said. “I think at this point it’s only fair that Carlos gave me time.” Shapovalov, with some detachment, regained the spoiled expression. “It’s not fair how Rafa deals with it,” he said. The referee’s behavior was a “big joke”. When asked if he thought Nadal would receive preferential treatment, the Canadian replied: “100 percent.” Time and again Nadal dragged the time.
Nadal stomach problems
The tension over five sets that this match should have been wasn’t expected for long. Against the semi-finals of Wimbledon, Nadal fared much better with presence and consistency than Zverev did in his defeat in the round of 16. The 2009 Melbourne winners took a 2-0 lead before producing impressive results. In the Melbourne heat, he had stomach problems and lost his supremacy. “I was completely devastated. It was a heavy day. Very warm,” Nadal explained.
The issue of his physical condition was a matter of discussion before the tournament began. However, Nadal walked safely through the first rounds. However, his troubles on Tuesday have nothing to do with the foot injury that kept him out for months at the end of last season. In an interview with the winner, Nadal explained that the stomach pills in the fourth group only helped in a limited way.
When Shapovalov, who was 13 years his junior, seemed to have the upper hand, Nadal quickly took the lead in the deciding set, also thanks to minor mistakes by his opponent. Nadal disappeared from the scene for several minutes before the fifth section. “You feel like you’re not only playing against the player, but also against the referee,” Shapovalov said.
Berrettini in the semi-finals
When the last ball was played, the Canadian destroyed his racket. Nadal nodded, extended his arms toward the sky and tilted his head back. Now he can create tennis history. “A couple of months ago we didn’t know if I’d be back on tour. For me, it’s a gift to play tennis again.”
13 years after Melbourne’s only victory so far, Nadal separates two wins for the next cup. And instead of Serbian record champion Novak Djokovic, who was expelled from the country, he will play fifth in the world rankings in Friday’s semi-final against Matteo Berrettini, Wimbledon runner-up. Also in five sets, the first Italian to reach the semi-finals from Melbourne now defeated France’s Gael Monfils 6:4, 6:4, 3:6, 3:6, 6:2.
If Nadal actually wins on Sunday, he will secure the only record for his 21st Grand Slam title. The fact that Djokovic and Swiss rival Roger Federer (both 20 wins) are not present for very different reasons, opened the door wide open.
Ashleigh Barty wants to make his debut in the Melbourne Final on Thursday. In the quarter-finals, she beat American Jessica Pegula, who finished 21st, 6-2, 6-0. Barty also wants to write a very special chapter of success and become the first Australian to win the Australian Open since Chris O’Neill in 1978. In the semi-finals, Barty meets USA Madison Keys, the former US Open finalist, who defeated the Czech French champion Open Barbora Krijkova 6-3, 6-2.
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