MELBOURNE, January 24, 2019
Rafael Nadal is the first finalist in the men’s singles draw at the 2019 Australian Open. The No. 2 seed from Spain eased past Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday evening.
At 32 years 238 days, Nadal is 12 years 70 days older than Tsitsipas, who is 20 years 168 days. It is the ninth-largest age gap between a pair of Grand Slam men’s singles semi-finalists in the Open Era and the fourth-largest
age gap between a pair of Australian Open men’s singles semi-finalists in the Open Era.
Experience prevails, as Nadal won 85 per cent of his first service point and broke his opponent’s serve five times to advance in one hour and 46 minutes.
The 2009 Australian Open champion Nadal still has not dropped a set at this year’s tournament and is vying for the title against either six-time Melbourne winner Novak Djokovic from Serbia or Frenchman Lucas Pouille in his 25th major final.
“It was a great match and it’s been a great tournament. I think that I have played very well every day. After months without playing, this court and this crowd give me unbelievable energy,” Nadal said and also praised his opponent.
“I will not be the one to say no [Tsitsipas won’t win Grand Slams]. He has everything to make that happen – a good serve, good shots from the baseline, he’s brave and he goes to the net often. So, he has everything to become a Grand Slam, a multi-Grand Slam champion.”
Having defeated Roger Federer in the round of 16 here, Tsitsipas was bidding to become the third player to defeat both Federer and Nadal at the same Grand Slam.