Nadal storms through to Australian Open final

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 25, 2019
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Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning the men's singles semifinal match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece at the 2019 Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 24, 2019. Rafael Nadal won 3-0. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

World number two Rafael Nadal is the first man through to the Australian Open final, after thumping 20-year-old Greek prospect Stefanos Tsitsipas in straights sets 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

While it's been a breakthrough tournament for Tsitsipas with wins over 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the fourth round and Spanish ace Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals, the youngster simply couldn't match the precision and placement of the Spanish master.

"It was a great match, and it's been a great tournament," Nadal said after the match.

"I've played well every day. After a lot of months without playing, it's probably this court, this crowd, that is giving me that unbelievable energy."

Despite claiming a 17th Grand Slam title last year when he won the French Open, much of Nadal's 2018 campaign was marred with injuries.

In fact, the 32-year-old was forced to withdraw from the Brisbane International with an ankle injury just weeks out from the Australian Open.

"To start the season like this, when a few weeks ago 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 being in this position today," Nadal said.

"That week in Brisbane in practice worked very well for me, then I arrived here and had another good week of work. And since the tournament started, I've felt really well."

Now through to the final, Nadal is set to take on the winner of Friday's clash between world number one and six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and 28th seed Lucas Pouille.

"All semifinals are interesting and tough," Nadal said. "Novak is the favorite now, and he's been in that position so many times. For Lucas, it's the first one, but he won an amazing quarterfinal match and is playing so well."

"I always thought that Lucas is one of these players with amazing potential. He can beat everybody when he's playing well. So let's see. It's true that Novak is unbelievable, so for Lucas it will be difficult, but it's a tennis match -- anything can happen."

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