Melbourne: Rafael Nadal handed rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas a tennis lesson on Thursday as he drubbed him 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in the Australian Open semi-final.
Greek 14th seed Tsitsipas had enjoyed a fairytale run to his first Grand Slam last four, including a win over Roger Federer, but found Nadal in ruthless form as he won in 1hr 46min.
The Spanish second seed has not dropped his serve for an astonishing 63 straight games and has not lost a set on his way to the final, where he will face either Novak Djokovic or Lucas Pouille.
“It’s been a great match, a great tournament,” Nadal said after a breathtaking display of almost perfect tennis.
“I think I have played very well every day. After a lot of months without playing is probably this court, this crowd it gives me that unbelievable energy.”
The 20-year-old Tsitsipas had been hailed as a new Greek god of tennis after beating Federer, but his ascent to the summit of his personal Olympus was comprehensively halted by the colossus called Nadal.
Nadal’s win put him into his fifth Australian Open final and keeps him on course to become the first man to win all four Grand Slams twice in the Open era if he can add to his sole Melbourne Park crown in 2009.
Tsitsipas, in just his second Australian Open and seventh appearance at a Grand Slam, was looking to become the first Greek player – man or woman — to reach a final in a major.
“He has everything to become a multi-Grand Slam champion,” Nadal said of the young Greek, who enjoyed a breakthrough 2018, winning the ATP Tour NextGen Finals.
“When at that age he is in the semi-finals that says a lot of good things about him and winning the matches that he won already, so, yeah, I hope to face him in important rounds in the next couple of years, hopefully.”