Big league Berrettini targets Nadal upset in AO semis

MELBOURNE: Matteo Berrettini will take on Rafa Nadal in the Australian Open semifinals on Friday looking to take a step closer to his first Grand Slam title and deny his opponent a record 21st major crown.

In the other semifinal, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev will play Stefanos Tsitsipas as he bids to become the first man in the Open era to claim a second Grand Slam title immediately after his maiden triumph.

Berrettini lost to Nadal in straight sets in their only previous meeting in the semifinals of the US Open in 2019, but the Italian – who reached last year’s Wimbledon final – said that he had more belief in his ability now.

“I really want to win this match. I know I can... It’s going to be a really tough one, but I’m in the semis of a Slam for the third time, so it means this is my level,” said Berrettini, who aims to become the first Italian to win the Australian Open.

Tsitsipas has his eyes set on becoming the first Greek Grand Slam champion, but the French Open finalist will need to be at his best to defeat an indefatigable Medvedev, who saved a matchpoint to get past Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarters.

Tsitsipas has lost six of his eight matches with Russia’s Medvedev, including a semifinal defeat at Melbourne Park last year, but he said after his quarterfinal demolition of Jannik Sinner that he was firmly “in the zone” this time around. – Reuters