Rafael Nadal is headed to the Australian Open finals.
Nadal continued to brush back the younger generation of tennis players with his decisive victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday. Nadal gave a commanding performance, beating Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0.
Coming into the match, it seemed like Tsitsipas would give Nadal a challenge. In the round of 16, Tsitsipas came back from a set down to beat Roger Federer. But Nadal looked masterful throughout. In the final set, Tsitsipas didn’t win a single game. But there were no hard feelings from Tsitsipas, who posted his congratulations on Twitter.
Big applause and congrats to @RafaelNadal and his whole team for bringing tennis to another dimension. His game is more than inspiring to me. I really hope to get closer next time.
Big thanks to everyone for your support these two weeks here in Melbourne. I love this city!
— Stefanos Tsitsipas (@StefTsitsipas) January 24, 2019
Nadal is 32, and is doing his part to rebuff the narrative that younger tennis players — the next generation of stars — is ready to take over. Three of Nadal’s last four Australian Open opponents have been young. He beat 19-year-old Alex de Minaur in the round of 32. He beat 21-year-old Frances Tiafoe in the quarterfinal. And Tsitsipas, Nadal’s most recent vanquished foe, is just 20.
Nadal didn’t have the best 2018. He managed a few key victories, but he was beset by knee, hip, ankle and abdominal injuries. His 2019 is starting off on the right foot, though. He’s yet to drop a single set at the tournament, and he’s just one win away from being the Australian Open men’s champion. And it means a lot to him — he got emotional when he entered the walk of champions.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2019
We don’t know who Nadal will be facing in the finals. The other semifinal match is between Novak Djokovic and Lucas Pouille, who will face each other on Friday.
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