The adventure continues for Rafael Nadal in Australia. The 2009 champion will seek a place in the semi-finals of the tournament after beating the French Adrien Mannarino by 7-6 (14), 6-2 and 6-2. His rival will be the Canadian dennis shapovalov that surprised the german Alexander Zverev (3 world) by beating him 6-3, 7-6 (5) and 6-3.
“I didn’t expect to be here a few weeks ago,” Nadal insisted after a victory that places him for the 14th time in the quarterfinals of the tournament since he made his debut, at the age of 18, in 2005. Now, at 35, with problems in his left foot that forced him to stop competing for six months last season, the former number 1 is so cautious about his options to the title, as grateful for “being able to play and compete”.
16-14 in a tiebreaker.
Crazy stuff from Mannarino, but unfortunately for him, he was up against a man named Nadal at the other end.
— The Field (@thefield_in) January 23, 2022
Mannarino, 33 years old, 69 in the world and left-handed like Nadal, was an uncomfortable but affordable rival for a round of 16 in a Grand Slam. Nadal he had beaten him twice and this Sunday he repeated it without giving up a set, although suffering in a first set that was decided in a marathon ‘tie break’, after 28 minutes and 30 points at stake.
“A crazy tie break”
“It was the crazy tie break, one of the craziest of my career. It wouldn’t let me breathe, it gave everything back. Winning it was half a game”, he highlighted. Nadal that he didn’t write it down until the sixth ‘set ball’ and after Mannarino wasted one with 8-7 and another with 12-11, in some stands of the Rod Laver lit up with the spectacle of the two tennis players.
After losing that sleeve, Mannarino , with some abdominal problems, was no longer the same rival and Nadal certified the match with 16 aces, 88% of points with the first serve and 42 winners.
“A victory of great value”, valued the Balearic tennis player in order to continue his challenge in Melbourne where he now awaits Shapovalov who has won three of the four times they have faced each other. The Canadian surprised him in the first, at the Masters 1,000 in Canada, where he made himself known, at just 17 years old.
“Shapovalov has a lot of amazing stuff. If he plays well it’s hard to stop. I have always said that I saw him as a Grand Slam champion”, Nadal acknowledged. And he played very well against Zverev, who was the favorite and came into the match having won his previous three matches without giving up a set until yesterday he snatched three in a row and his hopes in the tournament. “I played a horrible game, the worst in a long time,” admitted Zverev with red eyes, disappointed at the missed opportunity.
Nadal has seen his part of the draw open up since the tournament began following the deportation of Novak Djokovic, who should be his theoretical rival in the semifinals, and now the elimination of Zverev.
Even so, the Balearic tennis player avoids talking about his options to win the title and the 21st Grand Slam of his career. “I don’t know if I feel ready to win the title. I go day by day, as always. When I got here, I knew that I was not a candidate, but now I am in a better position than 10 days ago”, he stressed. Nadal.
Carreno and Badosa, KO
He has not been able to accompany Nadal in his adventure to the quarterfinals Pablo Carreno who was eliminated by Matthew Berrettini (7 world) by 7-5, 7-6 (4) and 6-4, in a match in which the Italian tennis player added up to 28 ‘aces’. The Asturian tennis player, 21 in the world, once again stayed at the gates of the quarterfinals as in 2018 and 2019.
They didn’t make it past the round of 16 either. paula badosbecause he suffered a harsh correction at the hands of the American madison keys who defeated her 6-3 and 6-1. The Catalan tennis player was unknown at the Rod Laver Arena. She was never able to stop the powerful and aggressive game of a rival who, like her, came to the event with a title in Adelaide (Badosa achieved it in Sydney) and eight consecutive victories.
“She was not at 100 percent energy because she was wearing a lot. She has been much better and has more experience in these games,” the Catalan tennis player excused herself, to whom the double faults (19), and the errors (22) , they marked him in the 71 minutes that his match lasted.
ALL THE RESULTS AND THE PROGRAM OF MONDAY on the official website of the Australian Open
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.