Rafael Nadal proved too hot to handle for Stefanos Tsitsipas on a sweltering evening at Australian Open 2019, ending the 20-year-old’s surge to the semifinals with a definitive 6-2 6-4 6-0 victory.
The 2009 champion maintained the ruthless streak and first-strike style he has shown in his first tournament since the 2018 US Open, hitting 28 winners and denying the Greek a single break point until the final game of the match to wrap up victory in one hour, 46 minutes.
No.14 seed Tsitsipas, who ended six-time former champion Roger Federer’s bid for a hat-trick of titles in the fourth round, rallied after a low-energy first set to push the Spaniard in the second, battling back from 0-40 down to hold at 2-2.
But from 3-4, the combined 15 hours spent on court reaching the last four caught up with the 20-year-old, as Nadal claimed the next nine games to canter to the finish line.
Nadal will face either six-time champion Novak Djokovic or first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Lucas Pouille in what will be the Spaniard’s fifth Australian Open final. The world No.1 and Frenchman meet in the second semifinal on Friday.