| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Rafael Nadal advanced to the seventh Australian Open semifinal of his career.
Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood/USTA


The first men’s singles semifinal of the 2022 Australian Open was finalized on Tuesday, as Italy’s Matteo Berrettini and Spain’s Rafael Nadal won their respective quarterfinal matches.

Nadal knocked out 14th seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 in the first men’s quarterfinal on Tuesday. Nadal needed four hours and seven minutes to reach the seventh Australian Open semifinal of his career.

“Of course in the beginning of the fifth set I was very worries. But more than worried, I thought going to be super difficult to win that match, no?” said Nadal. “But here I am. Being in the semifinals means a lot to me…against a great player, after all the things that I went through, so it’s amazing news. I’m super happy.”

The heat seemed to take a toll on Nadal as the trainer had to come out during the fourth set with the Spaniard clutching his stomach.

“I think, of course, all these kind of matches helps me be in better shape, but we can’t forget that I didn’t play much tennis for such a long time,” he said. “So under these very hard conditions is difficult for me.”

Nadal will have a few days to rest up before he faces off with Berrettini, who played five sets himself on Tuesday as he held on to defeat 17th seed Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2 to become the first Italian man to reach the Australian Open semifinals.

“It feels unbelievable,” said Berrettini. “I am really happy for myself. What a great fight against Gael. It was a great match with a lot of emotions. I thought I had him in the third set and then I found myself in the fifth. But I really fought hard and put everything on the court and that is why I am really happy.”

Berrettini saw the momentum slip away during the third and fourth sets, but was able to fight back from 0-30 down in the opening service game of the deciding fifth set to get the break. He would go up a double break and build a 4-0 advantage in the decider, a deficit Monfils was unable to make up.

“I was just focused on winning the match,” said Berrettini. “I had a couple of break points [in the third set] and I couldn’t take them and tennis is like this. It happened with Alcaraz as well. I was leading and then they start to play better.”

Berrettini and Nadal will meet on Friday for a place in the Australian Open finals. The only previous matchup between the two took place in the semifinals at the 2019 U.S. Open, a straight-sets victory by Nadal.

The other semifinal will be determined on Tuesday. Second-seed Daniil Medevdev will play ninth-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in one quarterfinal, while fourth-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas plays 11th seed Italian Jannik Sinner.