Rafael Nadal‘s hopes of a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title are still well and truly alive after his four-set victory over Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The Spaniard raced into an opening 3-0 lead before Berrettini upped his game as the first set went on, but Nadal took full advantage of a number of errors from the Italian’s backhand.
Berettini made things interesting by forcing a fourth set as he began to ask questions of Nadal, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion advanced to the final with a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory.
The 35-year-old will now meet either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final as he bids to overtake Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the Grand Slam tournament tally.
“I started the match playing great. The first two sets were one of the best so far since a long time,” Nadal said during his on-court interview.
“Then I know how good Matteo is, he is a very solid player, very dangerous. He played some great shots, passing shot down the line, unbelievable. Then, yeah, then I had to suffer and wanted to fight in the fourth again.
“I enjoy the atmosphere a lot. I can’t complain at all .I knew before the match that the roof is going to be closed. A month-and-a-half I didn’t know if I was going to play tennis. It doesn’t matter if it is outdoors or indoors today. I just wanted to play and do my best.”
Before Nadal steps onto the court for a shot at glory, Ashleigh Barty and Danielle Collins will do battle in the women’s final on Saturday.