As if time did not pass, as if a decade was nothing and everything was more or less the same, with the usual aches and the same winning instinct, Rafael Nadal landed in the final of the Australian Open after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-2, 6-4 and 6-0, in 1h 47m) and went back 10 years. Then he caught his first and only title in Melbourne, the biggest prize, and now he can revalidate that success if he defeats in the final on Sunday (9.30 Eurosport) anyone who takes the lead: number one, Novak Djokovic, or Frenchman Lucas Pouille. . Whoever it is, Nadal continues to defy logic. After another long stay in the infirmary, he returned two weeks ago and offered a tennis Swarovski He already has his 18th big shot. Awesome.
"Before starting a tournament like that it was unthinkable," he said as soon as the match ended. "What happened in this week and a half has happened … Almost everything has gone perfectly. It means a lot for me to be again in a Grand Slam final, especially coming from where I came from, "said the Balearic, who reappeared in Australia after four months without having played a single official match, with the step through the operating room included to repair the right ankle. It is already behind that, recently but far, and competes like never the number two, which reduced by the express route to one of the strongest players of the new batch.
Tsitsipas it took barely a quarter of an hour to nod, to enter that zone of stress towards which it guides and pushes Nadal, sublime again, oppressive and obfuscating. A martyrdom for the young Greek, who in the initial stretch of the party already offered the symptomatology: general malaise (because he bothered everything), cold sweats and the bewilderment of those who try to put all remedy and none of them works. Pure and hard impotence. Nadal had already taken him to his land. Half an hour of punishment and he nodding, committing double faults, looking for answers in his box and changing from shoes, to see if so, for whatever reason, the flute sounded and the dynamics of the shock changed.
He changed, slightly, because in the second set the resistance of the Hellene was greater, but the outcome was the same. Nadal continued entangled in his backhand, raising very high rights and maintaining the aggressiveness in the network. In the same line as in his last participation in Wimbledon, the Spaniard played the boarding, with a point more than fang. He exploited the productivity of his service to gain meters and pose a constant offensive, scouring the opponent all the time, forcing him to uncomfortable blows that allowed him to apply the plan to the letter. Tsitsipas (20 years old) was seen during some nervous phases, but he was intoned in the intermediate stage and at least could show pills of his tennis. That he has it, and a lot.
85% of points with first
It has a promising future of Greek, all good manners, but there is still a chasm between one and the other. He ended up desperate. Nadal (32) feels the ball these days and enjoys as in a second youth sport. Progressively it has been redesigned and now offers a hybrid of the usual Nadal, herculean and vigorous, all legs, and a mature and extremely dominant tennis player. Have a joystick in his left arm and he directs the ball where he wants. It covers track like an octopus and perfectly interprets each point and situation, be it simpler or more complex. He proposes an odyssey to each point, because to scratch him one has to touch perfection. Such is the requirement. One single option break He offered Spanish.
And attention to the rest of the statistical sheet: retained 85% of points with their first services and 71% with the seconds; he committed only 14 errors and his racket fired 28 winning lashes; took the network (82%) and reduced to crumbs the service of the Greek, until now the hammer most efficient tournament. This time, he stayed at 30% points with seconds.
The 25th final in a Grand Slam
When breaking in the ninth game of the second set, he drew an insurmountable frontier. From there, he followed his own and Tsitsipas relaxed completely, losing the duel attractive. In the end it ended up being a monologue of Nadal. There was only one voice, tall and grave, so intimidating that the Greek was left blank in the resolution, overwhelmed and resigned because he ran what he was running and gave back what he was always going to be there in Manacor, with the knife between his teeth , scythe in hand. Always carry one more Nadal. Now, qualified for the final just 10 years after he obtained his only trophy in Melbourne, until then territory for the successes of the Spaniards.
It will be the 25th in a major, fourth for him in the Australian after the 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2017. Yielded two years ago against Roger Federer, precisely the tennis player who surrendered a decade ago. Then, the Swiss ended up in tears, caught by Tsitsipas in this edition. In the semifinals, however, the latter crashed into a wall. Against an insuperable fence that no one puts a stop in Melbourne, where he has not given a single set on the way to the final episode, after the nth Resurrection. It's Nadal.