The quest for the 21st Grand Slam title in his career ended on Wednesday (17th) for Rafael Nadal. And in a painful manner in the Australian Open quarter-finals in Melbourne. The Spaniard, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, was defeated by Greek Stephanos Tsitsipas, sixth in the ATP rankings, 2 to 3 sets, after winning the first two parts. After 4 hours and 3 minutes departure, the final score was 3/6, 2/6, 7/6 (7/4), 6/4 and 7/5.
It was only WhatsApp’s second win in eight matches against Nadal for the first time on hard courts. The second time he defeated the Spaniard was in 2019 when the Madrid Masters 1000 clashed. This is the third Grand Slam semi-final in Greek’s career, which stalled at this level in Melbourne two years ago and also at Roland Garros last season.
With 34 years and champions of the Australian tournament in 2009, Nadal postponed his dream of a 21st Grand Slam title, which would make him the number-one record holder of victory, beating Swiss rival Roger Federer, who previously Hee is 39. At the start of his walk in Melbourne he suffered from back pain, the Spaniard was playing at a high level and had not missed the set in his last five matches.
In his career, Nadal suffered only a third upset after opening for only 2 sets to 0 advantage. The first took place at the Masters 1000 in Miami, in the United States, for Federer in 2005, at a time when the final of this size tournament was the best of five sets. The second turn was for Italian Fabio Fognini at the 2015 US Open. On 243 other occasions, he retained the advantage.
Tsitsipas’ next opponent is Russian Daniel Medvedev. Like the previous four matches, he defeated his compatriot Andrey Rublev without losing the set. The world number 4 guaranteed his place in the semi-finals after competing for 2 hours and 5 minutes with 7/5, 6/3 and 6/2.
Medvedev became the fifth Russian tennis player to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne, joining Aslan Karsev, who surprised Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov a day earlier and will face Serbian Novak Djokovic currently ranked No.1 in the world.
In addition to fighting against another negative record, as he only won once in five matches, Tsitsipas has a mission to end his opponent’s incredible victory streak. In a series that began late last year, Medvedev was undefeated for 19 games. During this period, the Russian ATP finalists were champions of the Paris Masters 1000, and helped their country win the ATP Cup at the start of the season.