FINAL RIGHTS - Nadal and Medvedev on collision course in Oz Open summit clash

Rafael Nadal is within one victory of a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title. The 35-year-old Spaniard advanced to the Australian Open final for the sixth time with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over seventh-seeded Matteo Berrettini on Friday.
Rafael Nadal on cloud nine after securing a spot in the title decider
Rafael Nadal on cloud nine after securing a spot in the title decider

Melbourne

Sixth seed Nadal will have to beat reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev on Sunday to make history. No.2 Medvedev of Russia is chasing a piece of history of his own after reeling off the last five games to defeat Stefanos Tsitispas 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a heated semi-final contest. The 25-year-old is aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win his second Grand Slam title at the next major tournament.
Medvedev has had an emotional and challenging run. He had to deal with a hostile crowd in his second-round win over Nick Kyrgios, had to save a match point and rally from two sets down to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in a nearly five-hour quarter-final win, and had to regain his composure after an angry outburst at the umpire on Friday.
The Russian yelled at chair umpire Jaume Campistol after dropping serve in the second set, demanding that Greek fourth seed Tsitsipas be cautioned for receiving coaching from his father in the crowd.
He had a five-minute break after dropping the set, took control late in the third set and then dominated the last five games after Tsitsipas was eventually cautioned for getting coaching from the stands.Nadal’s run to his 29th Grand Slam final has been comparatively serene. After the last point on Friday, he stopped, beamed a wide grin and then punched the air three times.
Nadal arrived in Australia not knowing how long he would last after months off the tour dealing with a serious foot injury and a bout of COVID-19.
Nadal’s four-set win over 2021 Wimbledon runner-up Berrettini of Italy, under a closed roof at the Rod Laver Arena because of heavy rain, was his 500th on hard courts at the tour level. He has won the Australian Open only once, in 2009.
Medvedev will need to take a calmer approach after beating Tsitsipas in the semi-finals for the second year in a row at Melbourne Park. He lost to Djokovic in last year’s final, but then beat the No.1-ranked player for the US Open title.

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