25 Jan 2019

Tennis: Rafael Nadal on the brink of history

7:32 am on 25 January 2019

Rafael Nadal beat Stefanos Tsitsipas to enter his fifth Australian Open final and 25th grand slam final.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates his victory against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas during their men's singles semi-final match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 24, 2019

Photo: AFP

Rafael Nadal served up Stefanos Tsitsipas a brutal reality check, routing the rising Greek star 6-2 6-4 6-0 in their semi-final in a match which took just an hour and 46 minutes.

The Spaniard, 12 years Tsitsipas' senior, reduced the contest to bullying at times with his power game.

The result brings Nadal a fifth Australian Open final and a chance to secure a second title at Melbourne Park a decade after his 2009 triumph.

His opponent will be decided on Friday night when world No 1 Novak Djokovic faces French outsider Lucas Pouille.

Nadal is yet to drop a set at the tournament - an unlikely scenario after he withdrew from the lead-up Brisbane International under an injury cloud.

"A few weeks ago when I was in Brisbane ... having to take a very tough decision for me not to play there. In that moment it was difficult for me to imagine to be where I am today," he said.

Nadal now stands on the brink of history.

Success in the final would be his 18th grand slam triumph and make him the first man in the Open era to win each major twice.

But the Spaniard has lost his last three Australian Open finals, including the six-hour 2012 decider against Djokovic.

Kvitova on the verge of bravest comeback

Petra Kvitova is on the verge of Australian Open success.

Petra Kvitova is on the verge of Australian Open success. Photo: Photosport

Petra Kvitova stands on the verge of completing one of the bravest comebacks in tennis after ending the fairytale run of unseeded American Danielle Collins to reach her first Australian Open final.

Two years after missing the tournament while recovering from an attack by a knife-wielding home intruder, the eighth-seeded Czech booked her first Grand Slam final since her 2014 Wimbledon triumph with a decisive 7-6(2) 6-0 victory at Melbourne Park.

"To be honest, I'm still not really believing that I'm in the final," Kvitova told reporters, after becoming the first Czech finalist in Melbourne since Jana Novotna in 1991.

"It's kind of weird, as well, that I didn't know even if I was going to play tennis again.

"I think not very many people believed that I can do that again, to stand on the court and play tennis and kind of play on this level."

The 28-year-old lefthander will meet Japan's US Open champion Naomi Osaka, who held off seventh seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova in the other semi-final, in the title-decider.


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