World no. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas stunned the 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal 3-6, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-5 in four hours and five minutes to reach the Australian Open semi-final! Nadal played on a high level in the opening three sets, failing to cross the finish line in the third set's tie break and losing ground after that to propel Tsitsipas over the finish line despite losing serve only twice.
The opening set saw eight solid holds and one loose service game from Tsitsipas that cost him the set. They both lost six points behind the initial shot, and Nadal managed to grab four of those in a single return game that carried him through, backed by only five unforced errors.
Rafa closed the opening game with a service winner, and Stefanos responded with a hold at love to get his name on the scoreboard. The Spaniard completed the third game without losing a point and opened a 3-2 gap when the Greek netted a backhand in game five.
They held at 30 in games six and seven to remain neck and neck before Rafa scored that decisive break at 4-3 following a massive forehand mistake from Tsitsipas that would cost him dearly. Serving for the set, Nadal landed an unreturned serve at 40-30 to secure the opener and gather a massive boost ahead of set number two.
Rafa played even better in set number two, hitting 11 winners with five unforced errors and keeping everything under control in his service games. Tsitsipas couldn't follow that pace, losing serve twice and finding himself on the edge of defeat.
Rafa landed a forehand down the line winner in the opening game to steal the rival's serve and held at 15 to cement the break when Stefanos sprayed a backhand mistake. Returning at 3-1, Nadal secured another break thanks to Tsitsipas' forehand error, extending the advantage and closing the set with a hold at 15 at 5-2.
Both players served on a high level in the third set, barely losing a point and reaching the tie break in no time.
Stefanos Tsitsipas came from two sets to love down to beat Rafa in five sets.
Tsitsipas opened it with a backhand unforced error before Nadal sprayed one from his smash, which doesn't happen that often.
Rafa sent another smash long at 3-3 to experience a mini-break and lost the breaker 7-4. After almost two hours and 20 minutes, Nadal experienced the first break point of the encounter in the fourth set's opening game, saving it with a smash winner to avoid an early setback.
Both players served well in the next three games, with more troubles on serve for the Spaniard at 2-2. Nadal saved two break chances with service winners and held with another unreturned serve for 3-2. Rafa endured another challenging game at 3-3 to send the pressure to the other side.
Serving at 4-4, Nadal wasted three game points and suffered a break to find himself 5-4 behind. The Greek held at 15 in game ten to close the set and force a decider. Starting all over, Nadal fired four winners at 1-1 in the decider but couldn't find anything on the return to stay locked at 3-3.
The Spaniard closed the seventh game with an ace to stay alive and held at love at 4-4 to move closer to the finish line. Untroubled on serve since the third set (12 points lost behind the initial shot), Tsitsipas held at 30 to level the score at 5-5 and prolong the drama.
Serving in game 11, Nadal suffered a break at love, crumbling under pressure and allowing Tsitsipas to serve for the victory. Rafa saved a match point in that 12th game and another with a return winner and earned a break chance that Stefanos saved with a strong serve.
The Greek converted the third match point with a backhand down the line winner to secure the victory, one of his young careers' greatest.