MELBOURNE, January 22, 2019
No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal defeated first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Frances Tiafoe from the United States 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in a battle of experience against youth on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday evening. Nadal hit 29 winners and broke his opponent’s serve four times to reach the semi-finals at a Grand Slam for the 30th time.
After only one hour and 47 minutes match time, the 31-year-old Spaniard has become just the fourth man in the Open Era to reach the last four at the majors on 30 or more occasions.
Nadal was delighted to be back in the semi-finals, aiming for his first Australian Open title since 2009.
“For me it is very emotional to be back in the semi-finals here in Melbourne. I had some troubles in this event in my career so to be back in the semi-final means everything to me,” the World No. 2 said during his on-court interview.
“To be able to play on this court is so special – of course I am very happy with the way I played tonight.”
He has got to this stage without having lost a set and in his first tour-level tournament back since the US Open last year.
“That can happen but the possibilities are not very high. I feel lucky to be where I am after all the things I went through to be able to keep competing at this level,” he added.
“That is why I wake up every morning and I go to the gym with the goals to be a better player.”
Kvitova returns to final four
Petra Kvitova is back into the semi-finals of a major for the first time since she clinched the title at Wimbledon in 2014. The 28-year-old from the Czech Republic took out local favourite Ashleigh Barty 6-1, 6-4.
Jim Courier asked whether she ever lost belief she would be back at this stage. Overcome with emotion, Kvitova answered,” No, I didn’t really imagine to be back on this great stadium, playing with the best. It’s great!”
Kvitova will next take on US-American Danielle Collins, who continued her stellar run in Melbourne rallying past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova from Russia 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Kvitova defeated Collins in three sets, after the US-American had served for the match, at the Brisbane International earlier this month and the eighth seed is expecting a tough examination on Thursday.
Collins had never won a main draw Grand Slam match before arriving at Melbourne Park last week.
“She doesn’t have those experiences but on the other hand she is fearless and playing very very aggressive,” Kvitova said.