Both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal fired off with a couple of first points on the board. They tied 2-2 apiece. As they are looking for different strategies that would help win the 1st stage. This is the 4th & final Quarter Final Game at Rod Laver Arena. With the winner will get to face Daniil Medvedev from Russia for the 2nd semi-final on Friday.
Tsitsipas however began to lose some ground in his 2nd half run of this opening stage. With two points lost against Nadal after the halfway point. Before Nadal clinched the mini win 6-3. As Tsitsipas needs to combine that 1st & 2nd half play consistently. If he wants to catch up with Nadal and win Stage 2 to tie the overall lead 1-1.
Nadal continues his strong Stage 1 with an easy headstart 2-0 v Tsitsipas. Before the Spaniard was able to bridge a dominant 2nd half run. When he pulled off a big lead with the Stage 2 win 6-2 ahead of the 3rd stage. For Tsitsipas he continued to struggle on all fronts to catch up his opponent. The only progress Tsitsipas made was holding him back during the deuces. But not enough with the finishing. Despite the late point grabbed against Nadal 2-5.
Tsitsipas will desperately need a Stage 3 win to keep his semi-finals berth alive. And come back out of nowhere with at least another two stage wins. This is the only route he has to take now. As it is one hour & 21 minutes into the game so far tonight. With 2-0 down in the overall lead. The 4th seed from Greece had a headstart this time.
As well as the build up base in this crucial stage where Tsitsipas touched the halfway line 1st 3-2. Having won a series of duels v Nadal. Including the deuces in which it was not easy. Tsitsipas desperately scrambled to save the game by going into Stage 4.
There is 2nd half progress at least from the Greek 5-4 ahead of Nadal. But Nadal held him back to deny Tsitsipas a Stage 3 win at the first attempt 6-6. As the Spaniard brought this into mini overtime.Tsitsipas fortunately able to close out Rafa Nadal in the end for the Stage 3 win on overtime 7-6. This game is not over just yet. It is still Nadal who has the overall lead 2-1. With Tsitsipas now needs two more Stage wins to overtime him & stage a huge comeback.
The start of Stage 4 looked very competitive with Tsitsipas and Nadal battling side by side for the lead. Nadal still needs one more Stage win to book a semis spot. Despite fallen so short behind the Greek on the mini overtime during Stage 3. The Spaniard had the first opportunity to flip towards a great 2nd half run. After Nadal touched the halfway point first 3-2. Desperately needed to close out Tsitsipas once more as it was in the first two stages to wrap it up.
Tsitsipas did not give up without a fight when he began to close in on Nadal 4-4. Having snatched this lead 5-4 when Nadal unable to overcome a few duels with the advantage. Before the 4th seed from Greece tied Nadal with the overall lead. As he wins Stage 4 6-4. It all comes down to the 5th & final stage. Where one of them will have to cross this victory line first. Both big rewards up for grabs.
It has gone right to the wire with Nadal upfront ahead of Tsitsipas earlier on. The game has already crossed the 3 1/2 hours mark when the 4th seed from Greek tied 2-2. Before Nadal began to regain the executed feel that was sorely missed in Stages 3 & 4. When he was one point away from winning Stage 5 & overall win 5-4. But Tsitsipas took advantage of Nadal’s missed conversions 5-5. In the end Tsitsipas emerged from 0-2 after Stage 2. And came back the hard way to upsurp Rafa Nadal with three straight wins. Which means he is in the semi-final now v Daniil Medvedev. The final score was done in 4 hours & 5 minutes: 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4 tie), 6-4 & 7-5.
What a comeback from Stefanos Tsitsipas. He did not have the best first two sets. Where his 1st run feel only worked alone. But began to have his executions up to speed from the 3rd set. And able to match his foundations Tsitsipas wanted to build. Where he just closed out Rafa via tiebreaker to keep himself in the game. Before he repeated the same thing again and again. Even though it is not an easy battle against such an opponent who won grand slams before. And that became the No.1 strength as to why win harder is stronger & better.
And on Rafa oh so close where he was buggered not to make it into the semis. Dominated a very easy 1st half of the match against Tsitsipas with two sets in the bag. Looked like the game would end under his watch within two hours. Rafa unfortunately did not make up these missed changes. When he began to falter with the executions. Before it was too late to fix by the time Tsitsipas emerged out from almost eliminated to eventual winner. Not just his night tonight. But best of luck as Rafa still has class to prove.