World number six and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal saw off Denis Shapovalov in a thriller that lasted for over four hours to book his place in the 2022 Australian Open semifinals.
The experienced 35-year-old Spaniard came up against 14th seed Shapovalov , who had sent third seed Alexander Zverev crashing out of the Australian Open.
Nadal was 6-0 in 2022 coming into the match, and he started very well against his younger opponent, racing into a two-set lead 6-3 6-4.
After going down two sets, Shapovalov brought his A-game to the Rod Laver Arena and looked set to pull off one of the biggest shocks of this year’s Australian Open as he claimed the next two sets 6-4 6-3 to level the match at two sets each and force a fifth set.
The Canadian looked to be in peak physical condition as he set out to complete a remarkable comeback against one of the titans of tennis, but Nadal employed his experience and guile to defeat the 22-year-old 6-3 in the fifth set and end his Australian Open journey at the quarterfinals stage. Nadal has now qualified for 36 Grand Slam semifinals in his career and is two wins away from a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.
In the day’s other men’s quarterfinal in the Australian Open, Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils served up a thriller at the Rod Laver Arena, with the world number seven Berrettini prevailing in five sets 6-4 6-4 3-6 3-6 6-2.
17th seed Monfils quickly found himself in an unfavourable position, two sets down against a younger and more agile opponent who is ten years his junior. The Frenchman knew that he needed to turn the match around quickly, and he did with a couple of big shots as he picked up the points to win the next two sets to force a fifth set. Monfils, however, ran out of steam in the deciding set and Berrettini ran away with the match in the last set to set up an Australian Open semifinal clash against the legendary Rafael Nadal.
There were no upsets in the women’s side of the draw as world number one Ashleigh Barty hardly broke a sweat as she defeated Jessica Pegula 6-2 6-0 in straight sets to book her place in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Big-hitter Madison Keys dispatched fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets 6-3 6-2 to also reach the semifinals, where she will face Australia’s Barty for a place in the final of the Australian Open.