The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal is through to his 14th Australian Open quarter-final. Nadal will face the young Canadian Denis Shapovalov in a battle for the semi-final, looking good on the court in the opening four matches and gaining confidence.
Nadal played under 30 encounters in 2021 and finished the season at the beginning of August due to a left foot injury. The Spaniard gave his body proper rest and started all over in Melbourne at the beginning of the new season, claiming the ATP 250 title and scoring four Australian Open wins.
Rafa will have to work hard against Denis in the quarters, with the Canadian playing on a high level since the start of the year and achieving his most notable Australian Open result. Nadal and Shapovalov will face for the fifth time, with Rafa leading their H2H meetings 3-1.
Denis stunned Rafa in Montreal 2017 at 18 and challenged the king of clay in Rome after wasting two match points a year ago. Nadal prevailed 306, 6-4, 7-6 in that epic Foro Italico duel, and will try to extend his winning streak against the youngster on Rod Laver Arena.
Rafael Nadal plays against Denis Shapovalov in the Australian Open quarter-final.
The Spaniard has lost one set in Melbourne so far, and he had to work hard against Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round, defending four set points in the opening set's epic tie break before sailing over the top.
Shapovalov ousted world no. 3 Alexander Zverev in the fourth round, playing on a high level in sets one and three and overcoming the deficit in the second to move over the top in two hours and 21 minutes. "Denis Shapovalov has a huge potential; it's hard to stop him when he plays well.
I scored a difficult win over Mannarino, and it should give me confidence ahead of my next match. I will do my best and try to play well. I lead H2H meetings against Denis, but that means nothing at the moment. What matters is who delivers better tennis on Tuesday.
I did not expect to be at this stage of the tournament a couple of weeks ago, and I'm excited," Rafael Nadal said.