Monday, February 6, 2023

Australian Open: Gritty Nadal overcomes Shapovalov challenge to reach semis

Showing his legendary fight and grit that has defined his career, Rafael Nadal overcame an abdominal injury to beat Denis Shapovalov in a five-set quarterfinal and reach the 2022 Australian Open semifinal, here on Tuesday.
Playing in his 14th Melbourne quarterfinal, Nadal battled through to his seventh semifinal with a 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 win over Canada’s Shapovalov in four hours and seven minutes.
The Spaniard, who is gunning for a record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title and now two wins away from a second Aussie Open men’s singles title (2009), survived an inspired comeback from the 14th seed and a troubled stomach to avoid the upset.
In the final set, Nadal crucially broke in the second game, either side of two dramatic service holds in which he saved a combined three break points across four deuces. Conserving his reserve energy for his service games, he saw the advantage home with an array of clutch deliveries to close out the match. The 35-year old was dominant early on Tuesday in Melbourne. Entering the match with just two breaks of serve against the fortnight, Nadal did not face a break point until the third set.
The 35-year-old will take on either seventh seed Matteo Berrettini or Frenchman Gael Monfils in the semifinals.
However, Sania and Ram converted just one of the eight break points and allowed Fourlis and Kubler to win the first set in 40 minutes.

Barty marches on to semis

Shortly after booking a spot in an Australian Open semi-final for the second time, Ash Barty was on the phone to a close friend who had just achieved something even more remarkable on Tuesday night.
The reigning Wimbledon champion was on the verge of defeating Jessica Pegula 6-2 6-0 when Dylan Alcott was announced the Australian of the Year.
Alcott reached the quad wheelchair singles final earlier on Tuesday when beating Andy Lapthorne 6-3 6-0 and then flew to Canberra for a ceremony in his honour.
Barty, who will play another American Madison Keys in a semi-final on Thursday night, said the example set by the quad wheelchair champion was inspirational.
Barty is now within two victories of another defining moment in her career after a dominant display against Pegula.
The American was a quarter-finalist last year and entered the match with a straight-sets win over Maria Sakkari. But she was blitzed by Barty, who won the last nine games of the match.

Tsitsipas, Medvedev in quarters

Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas fought with his back against the wall to overcome American world No. 22 Taylor Fritz 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an Australian Open thriller to reach the quarterfinals here.
Trailing by two-sets-to-one, the 23-year-old world No. 4 Tsitsipas’ Australian Open hopes were hanging by a thread. But he raised his game in the fourth and fifth sets, slamming backhands and forehands through the Rod Laver Arena court to advance in three hours and 23 minutes.
World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia too reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne for the second time, surviving a serve-and-volley barrage from American Maxime Cressy, ultimately winning 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-5 in three hours and 30 minutes.
Medvedev is the fifth Russian man in the Open Era to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open on multiple occasions, joining Yevgeny Kafelnikov (5), Nikolay Davydenko (4), Aleksandar Metreveli (3) and Marat Safin (3).

India’s Sania-Rajeev loss in QFs

India’s campaign at the 2022 Australian Open came to an end after Sania Mirza and her American partner Rajeev Ram lost to local pair of Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler in the mixed doubles quarterfinal match, here on Tuesday.
The unseeded duo of Mirza and Ram lost the match 4-6, 6-7 to Fourlis and Kubler in one hour 30 minutes.
The Indo-American pair got broken in the first game and gave away two break points in the second to go 2-0 down in the first set. The experienced duo then snatched the momentum back to take the next three games with Sania using her topspin lob to good effect.

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