Rafael Nadal is into his fifth Australian Open final in emphatic fashion, routing Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in just 1 hour, 48 minutes in the first semifinal. The Spaniard has yet to drop a set in Melbourne, the seventh time he's reached a major final doing so and will face the winner of the second semifinal between top seed Novak Djokovic and 28th seed Lucas Pouille for the title on Sunday.
Nadal off the mark right away
Both players looked sharp early on, but it was Nadal who gained the early edge, breaking with a backhand that forced a weak reply from Tsitsipas to take a 2-1 lead. His improved serve looked spot on, holding twice to love for a 4-2 edge.
The Spaniard continued to stamp his authority on the match, breaking for a second time after returning a drop shot from the Greek with one of his own for a 5-2 advantage. A piercing forehand volley gave him set point and he took it after a strong serve to take the lead.
Spaniard goes up two sets
The 14th seed shook off the obvious nerves and began to play better in the second set, keeping pace with the 17-time major champion, staving off three break points in the fifth game and taking a 4-3 lead. The seventh game would turn out to be the last Tsitsipas would win in the match.
Following a hold, Nadal claimed the lead on his second break point of the ninth game after a failed serve-and-volley attempt by the 20 year old. A love hold culminating in a wide serve that Tsitsipas returned way out gave the Spaniard a commanding two-set advantage.
Ruthless Nadal storms into final
The third set was a mere formality, Nadal toying with his opponent, moving him all around the court and breaking after another crushing backhand. Barely losing points at this stage, the second seed put away a pair of overheads to claim a second break.
A hold to 15 made it 4-0 and the only suspense left was whether or not Tsitsipas would get on the board. The answer would be no as Nadal threw in a slice for good measure, the Greek blasting a forehand wide and after holding to win the match, the Spaniard was into his 25th major final in spectacular fashion.
Post-match thoughts from 17-time major champion
"I played well, of course", said Nadal. "I have been playing wel lduring the whole event. Every match, more or less, I think I did a lot of things well. Tonight was another one. I played solid ----- with my serve, being aggressive. Probably the backhand was better today than the rest of the days".
When asked about the match between Djokovic and Pouille, the Spaniard took a wait-and-see approach: "Of course, Novak is the favorite tomorrow. He has been in that position a lot of times. For Lucas, it's the first time. But let's see. It's a tennis match and anything can happen".