| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo courtesy of USTA/Garrett Ellwood


Rafael Nadal powered his way into the Australian Open final on Friday, dismantling one of the hottest players in the tournament, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in clinical fashion.

“I played well, of course,” said Nadal. “I have been playing well during the whole event. Every match, more or less, I think I did a lot of things well. Tonight, was another one. I played solid—with my serve, playing aggressive. Probably the backhand was better today than the rest of the days.”

Tsitsipas entered Thursday’s showdown coming off of wins over Roger Federer and 22nd seed Roberto Bautista-Agut, but was no match for Nadal. The second-seeded Spaniard lost just 12 points on serve throughout the match, and fired 28 winners to just 14 unforced errors.

“It was a great match, and it’s been a great tournament,” said Nadal. “I’ve played well every day. After a lot of months without playing, it’s probably this court, this crowd, that is giving me that unbelievable energy.

To start the season like this, when a few weeks ago I was in Brisbane, having to take a very tough decision for me not to play there. In that moment it was difficult for me to imagine being in this position today.”

Nadal, whose 17 Grand Slam titles include a 2009 Australian Open win, awaits the winner of Novak Djokovic and Lucas Pouille, who square off in Friday’s semifinal.

“Novak is the favorite now, and he’s been in that position so many times. For Lucas, it’s the first one, but he won an amazing quarterfinal match and is playing so well,” Nadal added. “I always thought that Lucas is one of these players with amazing potential. He can beat everybody when he’s playing well. So let’s see. It’s true that Novak is unbelievable, so for Lucas it will be difficult, but it’s a tennis match—anything can happen.”