Rafael Nadal left a packed Rod Laver Arena in awe this morning after an almost impossible 149 km/h forehand winner, where at full stretch he somehow managed to bend the ball around the net.
The Spaniard’s dominant run at the Australian Open continued with a crushing 6-2 6-4 6-0 victory over rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals.
Nadal broke the 20-year-old in the third game of the match and never looked back, breaking another five times and holding his serve with ease throughout the contest, hitting a staggering 85% of his first serves in.
The 32-year-old tennis immortal has now won each of his six matches at Melbourne Park in an average of less than two hours, though he has yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 10.
Just three weeks ago, Nadal pulled out of the Brisbane International to rest a thigh strain which many feared would hinder his chances coming into the first grand slam of the year.
The Spanish icon, however, looks in peak physical condition and on current form will prove to be a formidable foe in the final for either Novak Djokovic or Lucas Pouille, who will play each other Friday in the other men’s semi-final.
Nadal showcased just how complete his game is and even treated the crowd to a breathtaking rainbow forehand around the net, which nearly broke the speedometer and sent the 15,000 seater Arena into a state of ecstasy.
Tsitsipas, who had knocked out defending champion Roger Federer earlier in the week has lit up this tournament with his youthful energy and aggressive game which also saw him dispatch Andy Murray’s conqueror Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals.
The 20-year-old Greek is considered a future multiple grand slam winner and has all the attributes to become a legend of the sport if he continues on the path he is on.
“It felt like a different dimension of tennis,” a shocked Tsitsipas told reporters after the match.
“He gives you no rhythm. He plays just a different game style than the rest of the players. He has this talent that no other player has. I’ve never seen a player have this. He makes you play bad.”
Nadal was questioned by on-court interviewer John McEnroe on whether he could play any better, a smiling Rafa simply replied: “Hopefully, yes.”
The 32-year-old legend went on to describe his display on court as ‘solid’ and ‘aggressive,’ telling reporters: “Probably the backhand was better than the rest of the days. That’s important for me too, because the forehand was working fantastic during the whole week, week and a half, but the backhand was improving during the tournament.
“In general terms of course I have to be very happy with the way that I played.”