Berrettini becomes first Italian male to reach Oz Open semis

Nadal, Barty, Keys others to qualify

MELBOURNE, Jan 25: World number seven Matteo Berrettini beats Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2 in a match that lasted for three hours and 49 minutes to enter the men’s singles semi-final here at the Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday.
The Wimbledon finalist will now face 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal for a place in the final.
The seventh seed Italian Berrettini started off on a confident note breaking the Frenchman Monfils in the fifth game of the first set to take the lead. From there on Berrettini held his serves to win the opening set 6-4.
Just when it seemed that Berrettini could take away the match Monfils made a comeback. In the fifth game, Berrettini conceded a double fault to give Monfils a break as the Frenchman took a 4-2 lead and went on to win the set 6-3 as the match went to the fourth set.
Gael Monfils got the momentum and the Frenchman broke Berrettini in the fifth and ninth game to win the set 6-3 and make it two sets apiece as his wife.
The fifth and final set the Italian made a roaring comeback breaking Berrettini twice in the first and third game to take the race to a 4-0 lead ultimately winning the set 6-2 as well as the match.
Also, Rafael Nadal fended off Denis Shapovalov in a four-hour, five-set match to reach the Australian Open semifinals for the seventh time, and said he felt almost “destroyed.”
After breaking his racket on the hard court in frustration at the end of the 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 loss, Shapovalov said he felt like Nadal got special treatment.
There were plenty of momentum-shifting moments on a hot Tuesday at Rod Laver Arena, including Nadal needing treatment for a stomach ailment after dominating the first 2 1/2 sets and Shapovalov complaining that his rival was wasting time.
None of it changed the fact that Nadal is one step closer in his bid for a men’s-record 21st Grand Slam singles title. He denied ever getting any special treatment, and added that Shapovalov was young and said he would get over it.
In the women’s singles quarters, top-ranked Ash Barty moved into the Australian Open semifinals with a 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 21 Jessica Pegula. The 2021 Wimbledon champion is aiming to become the first Australian woman to win the Australian Open since 1978.
She will face 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys for a place in the final. It’s Barty’s second trip to the semifinals at Melbourne Park – she lost to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in 2020.
Keys is back in the last four for the second time after losing to Serena Williams in the semifinals in 2015.
Barty saved the only break point she faced against Pegula and converted five of her nine chances to break serve.
Keys beat French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-2 in the opening match on Day 9. (Agencies)

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