2019 Australian Open: Rafael Nadal crushes Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach fifth Melbourne final
Nadal celebrates after his emphatic victory in the semifinals/Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

2019 Australian Open: Rafael Nadal crushes Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach fifth Melbourne final

The Spaniard continued his dominant play, dropping just six games to book a spot in his 25th career major final.

John Lupo

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.

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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.

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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.

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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".