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Rafa Nadal reaches Australian Open final and edges closer towards record 21st Grand Slam with win over Matteo Berrettini

, Rafa Nadal reaches Australian Open final and edges closer towards record 21st Grand Slam with win over Matteo Berrettini

RAFAEL NADAL booked his place in the Australian Open final with a stunning 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Matteo Berrettini.

The Spaniard shook off his heat stroke struggles from his quarter-final victory over Denis Shapovalov to storm into a comfortable two-set lead against the Italian.

Rafael Nadal celebrates his victory
The Spaniard produced a poised performance as he chases history

But as Shapovalov did earlier this week, Wimbledon finalist Berrettini roared back to take the third set, ripping forehands past Nadal.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner stayed poised, however, and broke at 3-4 in the fourth to give himself the chance to serve for a place in the final.

And he did just that, punching his ticket for Sunday in two hours and 58 minutes.

After his win, he told Jim Courier: “I started the match playing great.

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“The first two sets were one of the best so far since a long time. Then I know how good Matteo is, he is a very solid player, very dangerous.

“In the third I know at some point he is going to go for the shots. And then I think I didn’t play a good game with myself in the fourth and third.

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“He played some great shots, passing shot down the line, unbelievable. Then, yeah, then I had to suffer and wanted to fight in the fourth again.”

Nadal will face the winner of Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as he chases a record 21st Grand Slam title, and second Down Under.

The 35-year-old added: “For me it’s all about the Australian Open more than anything else.

“It just an amazing event that as I said a couple of days ago now, I have been a little bit lucky in my career with some injuries.

“At times I play good finals against Novak in 2012 and Roger in 2017.

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“I was lucky to win once in 2009 but I never thought about another chance in 2022. Just enjoy the victory today and after that try my best.”

, Rafa Nadal reaches Australian Open final and edges closer towards record 21st Grand Slam with win over Matteo Berrettini

Matteo Berrettini came roaring back in the third set

, Rafa Nadal reaches Australian Open final and edges closer towards record 21st Grand Slam with win over Matteo Berrettini

Nadal, 35, is one match away from beating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic’s tallies of 20 Grand Slams

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