World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini revealed as a kid he dreamed of playing Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open and now he is determined to make the most out of the opportunity given. Berrettini, 25, is set to face 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal in the Australian Open semifinal.
Nadal beat Berrettini in their lone meeting, which came in the 2019 US Open semifinal. "Playing with him in Rod Laver in semifinals is something that I dreamed about when I was a kid," Berrettini admitted. "I really want to win this match.
I know I can do it. It's gonna a really tough one."
Nadal respects Berrettini's game
“Matteo, he's one of the best players of the world since a while already. He's very solid. I need to play my 100 per cent and my highest level if I want to keep having chances to fight, to be competitive, and to try to be in the final,” Nadal said.
“I am super happy today. For me, this victory is super important in these circumstances, and be able to win [and reach] the semi-finals of a Grand Slam after everything is a lot of positive energy for me”. Both Berrettini and Nadal survived five-setters a match earlier.
Nadal edged out Denis Shapovalov in five sets while Berrettini overcame Gael Monfils in five sets. Monfils refused to quit after falling down by two sets but Berrettini kept his focus to win 6-4 6-4 3-6 3-6 6-2. “It feels unbelievable,” Berrettini said after beating Monfils.
“I am really happy for myself. What a great fight against Gael. It was a great match with a lot of emotions. I thought I had him in the third set and then I found myself in the fifth. But I really fought hard and put everything on the court and that is why I am really happy”. It remains to be seen if Berrettini can upset Nadal in Melbourne.