By: Aaron Smith
Dominant Barty Into The Semis
Medvedev & Nadal Win 5-set thrillers
Nadal and Berrettini survive Comebacks
Poland vs United States Semi-final
The opening grand slam of the tennis calendar is now down to the final four of the men’s and women’s singles draws. The eight remaining tennis stars continued their individual quests towards the title with contrasting victories on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is a recap of what happened in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open:
History Beckons for the Dominant Barty
Ashleigh Barty has definitely shown down under that she is on a mission towards history, and no one seems like they will be able to stop her. On Tuesday, the World No. 1 brushed aside the American youngster Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-0 to advance to another major semi-final, extending her efforts to become the first Australian woman to win the Australian major since 1978.
The No. 21 seed Pegula, who defeated the Greek seed Maria Sakkari in the 4th round, was looking to create another massive upset in the women’s draw to progress to her first major semi-final of her young career. However, the American was no match for Barty, who is still yet to drop a single set in the tournament thus far.
Wimbledon champion Barty will face another American, Madison Keys, in the semis on Thursday. Keys, a former World No. 7, has been in sparkling form in Australia, and that continued as she shocked the No. 4 seed Barbora Krejčíková in straight sets to progress.
It will be a tough ask for Keys to upset the apple cart once again in the semis though, as Barty has looked like a woman amongst girls at Melbourne Park. The Barty-Keys semi-final matchup will be the fourth meeting between the players with Barty holding the 2-1 edge over her opponent.
Medvedev-Tsitsipas Clash Set for Semi-Finals
Wednesday’s quarter-final matchups had contrasting but expected outcomes for the top two seeds left in the men’s draw, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Russian and the Greek will face off in Australia once again in a repeat of last year’s semi-final where Medvedev was victorious.
In this year’s edition, in one of the matches of the tournament so far, the World No. 2 Medvedev had to comeback from two sets down to defeat the rising talent Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime played his best tennis in the first two sets and would have been confident that he could hold on to progress to his first ever Australian major semi-final. However, the resilient Medvedev had other ideas and was absolutely incredible; increasing his level of play which was too much in the end for the Canadian.
Meanwhile, the No. 4 seed Tsitsipas only needed three sets to dispatch of the young Italian Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. The Greek, who is aiming to win his first ever major title, will definitely be pleased to avoid a five set marathon and will be hoping that he can get the better of the US Open champion on this occasion.
Medvedev leads the head-to-head between the players 6-2, but Tsitsipas won their last encounter in the quarter-finals of last season’s French Open.
Nadal & Berrettini Survive Comebacks
It will be another grand slam semi-final for Rafael Nadal after an unconventional quarter-final victory on Tuesday. No. 6 seed Nadal survived the commendable efforts of the Canadian Denis Shapovalov to book his spot in the final four after a 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 thriller.
This win for the “King of Clay” leaves him only two victories away from completing the “Road to 21”, and also winning only the 2nd Australian Open title of his career. There will be concerns though for the Nadal camp after the Spaniard’s multiple medical timeouts in his quarter-final against Shapovalov. He will need to recover to face a big test of his endurance in the semis.
That test will come from the “Boss”, Italian Matteo Berrettini, who also had to overcome a five set marathon. The No. 7 seed Berrettini outlasted the entertaining Frenchman Gaël Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals.
Nadal and Berrettini will be meeting for only the second time in their careers when they face off on Friday for a spot in the final. The 20-time major champion Nadal won their only matchup in the 2019 US Open Championship semis, defeating Berrettini in straights sets on his way to winning the title.
Poland vs United States Semi-Final
The European nation of Poland and the North American giant, the United States, are strong allies on the political stage. However, that relationship will not be the same at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday as the Pole Iga Świątek and the American Danielle Collins will battle for a spot in the women’s singles final.
No. 7 seed Świątek and the 27th seed Collins ousted the veterans Kaia Kanepi and Alizé Cornet respectively to progress to the semi-final stage. The two seeds will be facing each other for the second time after Świątek claimed a walkover victory over Collins at the Adelaide International tournament last year.