Australian Open 2022 | Tennis

Australian Open 2022 | Nadal conquers pain and Shapovalov

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates after winning the quarterfinal match against U.S.’ Jessica Pegula at the Australian Open 2022 in Melbourne on January 22, 2022.

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates after winning the quarterfinal match against U.S.’ Jessica Pegula at the Australian Open 2022 in Melbourne on January 22, 2022.

Rafael Nadal dug deep into his immense reserves of resilience for the second match running to keep his dream of a 21st Grand Slam title alive at the Australian Open on Tuesday, as women’s top seed Ashleigh Barty powered into a semifinal against Madison Keys.

Yet drop a set

World No. 1 Barty steamrollered Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-0 in 63 minutes to reach the last four at Melbourne Park for only the second time. Wimbledon champion Barty is yet to drop a set and has only given up 17 games in her five matches at Melbourne Park.

She will face the unseeded Keys for a place in Saturday’s final after the American, ranked 51, upset French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal, 35, raced to a two-set quarterfinal lead against Denis Shapovalov but then began to feel unwell, needing medical attention for a stomach complaint before surviving a four-hour thriller 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.

He will face Matteo Berrettini in the semifinal after the Italian seventh seed endured a rollercoaster five-setter of his own to overcome Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2. Berrettini grabbed a slice of tennis history by becoming the first Italian man to reach the last four at the Australian Open.

Nadal won a warm-up tournament and continues to amaze even himself after being out for most of 2021 with a chronic foot injury. He then caught COVID-19 in December.

A frustrated Shapovalov smashed his racquet after losing and had a running battle with the chair umpire over the time Nadal was taking to serve, at one point calling the official “corrupt”.

“I started to feel not very well in my stomach so I just asked if they could do something,” said Nadal.

“They just checked everything was all right and then I took some tablets to try to improve the situation. It was lucky that I was serving great in the fifth,” he added.

On a roll

Earlier, Keys continued her impeccable start to the 2022 season with a straight-sets destruction of fourth seed Krejcikova, who needed medical attention after being affected by the heat as the mercury topped 30° Celsius during the first set.

Keys was a semifinalist in 2015 but endured a terrible 2021 where she tumbled down the rankings.


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 7:09:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/australian-open-2022-top-seed-ashleigh-barty-crushes-pegula-to-enter-semifinals/article38323743.ece