Rafael Nadal stayed on track for a men’s-record 21st Grand Slam singles title when he beat Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open semifinals.
Nadal was dominant all through the first two sets, moving the Italian around the court while dictating play. After Nadal took a 4-0 lead in the second set, seventh-seeded Berrettini had won just one point on his second serve in 11 attempts.
With the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena due to heavy local rain, and the subsequent high humidity in the building, the ball was heavy and flat, assisting Nadal with keeping the ball in play. Nearly all of the long rallies in the first two sets went all the sixth-seeded Spanish left-hander’s way.
Yet, Berrettini turned it midway through the third set. After not having a break point until then, Berrettini had three in the eighth game of the third set and converted his second, taking a 5-3 lead. He then, at that point, held serve in the next game four consecutive points to send the match to a fourth set.
Nadal took control again when he broke Berrettini’s serve in the eighth game of the fourth set. He then, held to clinch the match, then, at that point, pumped his arm three times in celebration.