Rafael Nadal’s bid for a men’s-record 21st Grand Slam title has ended with a five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
It is only the second time in Nadal’s career he has lost a Grand Slam match after taking the opening two sets.
He went ahead rather easily against Tsitsipas to run his streak of consecutive sets won at major tournaments to 35 before losing 3-6 2-6 7-6(4) 6-4 7-5.
But a surprisingly poor tiebreaker by Nadal helped give the third set to Tsitsipas and begin the epic comeback.
“Well done for him, he played better than me probably in the important moments,” Nadal told reporters. “I tried my best in every single moment … I think I stayed positive all the time during the match, fighting, and it was not enough. Sometimes it’s enough, today was not enough.”
Now the 22-year-old from Greece will try to reach his first major final by beating Daniil Medvedev on Friday.
On the women’s side, top-ranked Ash Barty built a big lead in her quarter-final match before her opponent took a medical timeout and left the court.
More than an hour later, it was Barty heading abruptly through the exit. She was upset Wednesday by Karolina Muchova, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. Seeded No. 25, Muchova earned her first semifinal berth in a Grand Slam. Her comeback win ended Barty’s bid to become the first Australian woman to win the title in Melbourne since Chris O’Neil in 1978. (CBC)