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Rafael Nadal Beats Matteo Berrettini to Advance to 2022 Australian Open Final

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 28, 2022

AP Photo/Hamish Blair

Rafael Nadal advanced to the 2022 Australian Open men's final with a four-set victory over Matteo Berrettini on Friday at Melbourne Park.

Nadal will have an opportunity to take over the all-time record for men's Grand Slam titles when he faces No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev in the championship match. He currently shares the mark with longtime rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (20 each).

The 35-year-old Spanish fan favorite will be playing his sixth Australian Open final and seeking his second title, with the first coming in 2009.

Efficiency was the name of the game for Nadal in the semifinal, and he needed every bit of it as Berrettini put together a strong showing of his own despite the defeat.

The 25-year-old Italian, who's reached at least the quarterfinals in four straight majors, held advantages in both winners (38-28) and aces (14-5) to put a lot of pressure on Rafa.

Nadal answered by recording just 19 unforced errors in 35 games. He also won 75 percent of points when coming to net (12 of 16), 63 percent on his second serve (20 of 32) and broke Berrettini four times while allowing just two break-point chances.

Now the tournament's No. 6 seed gets another shot at a second Australian Open title, something he didn't expect to happen.

"There were times I played amazing finals with good chances—against Novak in 2012, against Roger 2017—I was close a couple of times,” Nadal told reporters. "I feel very lucky that I won it once in my career in 2009, but I never thought about another chance in 2022."

He'll face off against second-seeded Medvedev, who won the final major of 2021 at the U.S. Open and scored a four-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Friday's other semifinal.

Nadal holds a 3-1 advantage in their prior ATP Tour meetings, but Medvedev emerged victorious at their most recent encounter at the 2020 ATP Finals.

The men's final is scheduled to take place Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in Melbourne (3:30 a.m. ET in the U.S.).

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