Hello and welcome to coverage of the last quarter-final of the men’s draw between Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Tsitsipas will be hoping to gain revenge on Nadal and end the Spaniard’s bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title when they meet in a rematch of their last-four encounter in Melbourne two years ago.
The Greek made his Grand Slam breakthrough at Melbourne Park in 2019, defeating Roger Federer in the fourth round before his remarkable run was halted in ruthless fashion by Nadal, who conceded just six games.
Tsitsipas has since established himself as a mainstay in the top 10, winning the ATP Finals in 2019, but the 22-year-old will have his task cut out against Nadal, who has won six of their seven meetings.
Nadal, 34, was all doom and gloom about his fitness on the eve of the year’s first major but the lower back strain that forced him to miss the ATP Cup seems to be improving and he heads into the last-eight clash without the loss of a set.
“I was able to win four matches already, so now I’m going to have a very tough opponent and need to play my best,” Nadal said after his fourth-round demolition of Fabio Fognini.
“I’m excited. If we compare how I was five days ago and now, it’s different, my perspective and excitement is different too.”
Meanwhile, Karolina Muchova said she was so dizzy she thought she was going to faint during her Australian Open quarter-final against Ash Barty before a lengthy medical timeout helped her regain her composure to turn the tables on the world No 1.
Home favourite and top seed Barty was leading by a set and a break when Muchova called for the timeout at a steamy Rod Laver Arena.
“I was feeling kind of dizzy at some point, like really lost and almost fainting. I just asked for help,” said Muchova, who won 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.
“They just checked my (blood) pressure because I was a bit lost, you know? I was spinning. So they cooled me down a bit with ice, and it helped me.”
Play resumed nine minutes later and a recharged Muchova found her feet almost immediately, breaking Barty’s serve for the first time in the match.
With shortened rallies and bold shot-making, Muchova went on to break her opponent twice in the final set to reach a Grand Slam semi for the first time.