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Australian Open 2019: Rafael Nadal to take on Stefanos Tsitsipas in semis

On day nine of the Australian Open, the fairytale runs of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Danielle Collins were also extended as they too swept into the last four

Agencies 

Australian Open 2019, Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal. Photo: Reuters

Spain's Rafael Nadal defeated Frances Tiafoe of the United States 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday to advance to the semi-finals of the 2019 in Melbourne.

The second seed was in control throughout the match, although his unseeded 21-year-old opponent produced a hard-fought display that made the 17-time Grand Slam champion earn his place in the tournament's last four, reports Efe news.

After eliminating number 20 seed in the round of 16, overcoming Nadal, one of the tournament favourites, was always likely to be a hurdle too high for Tiafoe.

The American youngster was particularly impressive on serve, outgunning his opponent with 14 aces to Nadal's 11.

But he was unable to break the Spaniard's serve, as Nadal stayed focused and clinical throughout, particularly in the second and third sets as Tiafoe came into the match to the delight of the Melbourne crowd.

Nadal moves on to the semi-finals, where he will face another rising star in Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"I had some trouble at this event all my career, so I'm very happy with the way I played tonight," said the Spaniard, who faces another young gun Tsitsipas in the semi-finals.

"I feel lucky to be where I am."

Greek sensation Tsitsipas powered into the last four with a measured 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) win over Spain's

Australin Open 2019, Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas. Photo: Reuters
The 20-year-old, who ended Swiss great Roger Federer's tournament, became the youngest man to reach the semis at Melbourne Park since Andy Roddick in 2003 and the first player from Greece -- man or woman -- to get so far at Grand Slam.

"I'm just living the dream, living what I've been working hard for," said the 14th seed, who lives in Cyprus but trains at the academy of Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou in France.

"I feel a bit emotional but not too much -- I know I really worked hard to get here, playing in semis of a Grand Slam."

Australian Open 2019, Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic. Photo: Reuters
Czech Kvitova had not gone past the last eight at a major since a burglar slashed her left hand in December 2016, forcing her out of the game for six months and leaving her with lasting nerve damage in the fingers of her racquet hand.

But the eighth seed has bounced back and is on a sensational 10-match unbeaten streak after claiming the Sydney International warm-up title.

She proved too much for Ashleigh Barty, crushing the local hope 6-1, 6-4, and was in tears afterwards as she reflected on her long journey back to the top.

"Really, I didn't imagine to be back on this great stadium and play with the best," the two-time Wimbledon champion said.

"I'm calling it as my second career. So it's the first semi-final of the second career. I'm really enjoying it."

Australian Open 2019, Danielle Collins
Danielle Collins. Photo: Reuters
Kvitova will face unseeded American Collins in the semi-final on Thursday and she desperately wants to reach Saturday's decider.

"I want it bad, that's right," she said.

Collins, the world number 35, had never won a Grand Slam match before entering this year's tournament but she stunned three-time major champion and second seed Angelique Kerber in round four.

And the 25-year-old from Florida continued her Cinderella run by bouncing back spectacularly to down Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the quarter-finals.

Collins, who has spent long stretches of her career playing small tournaments to build up her ranking points, was in big trouble after losing the first set to the world number 44.

But she fearlessly battled back into the match to again stamp her mark on the tournament.

"This has all been a really incredible experience," she said.

"This time last year I was playing a challenger (tournament) in Newport Beach. But, yeah, I think I'm really embracing it. It makes it a lot easier when you play in front of great fans and really good energy.


First Published: Tue, January 22 2019. 20:00 IST