The Australian Open has entered its final few days as the quarter finals conclude and fans await the drama of the semi-finals.

Rafael Nadal fended off Denis Shapovalov in a four-hour, five-set match to reach the Australian Open semifinals for the seventh time, and said he felt almost “destroyed.”

After breaking his racket on the hard court in frustration at the end of the 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 loss, Shapovalov said he felt like Nadal got special treatment.

So how did he emerge the victor?

It took, according to Rafa, “a little bit of miracle.”

“I don’t know, was a little bit of miracle,” Nadal said of his revival. “I was destroyed honestly physically. But my serve worked well, and for me, every game that I was winning with my serve was a victory, no?”

In the absence of the deported Djokovic and the injured Federer in Melbourne, Nadal can move ahead of his great rivals in the race to finish with most major titles.

While eager to win as many Grand Slam titles as possible, Nadal has often said he is not motivated by beating Djokovic and Federer.

At this year’s Australian Open, he is grateful to be even playing.

Nadal will get two days off before Friday’s semifinal match against seventh-seeded Matteo Berrettini. The Wimbledon runner-up, who became the first Italian man to reach the Australian Open semifinals, held on to beat No. 17 Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2.

Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini join Madison Keys and Ashleigh Barty in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Ashleigh Barty underlined why she is the Australian Open favourite as she thrashed Jessica Pegula to set up a semi-final against Madison Keys.

World number one and home favourite Barty won the final nine games to beat American Pegula 6-2 6-0.

Barty, bidding to become the first Australian singles champion in the tournament since 1978, has yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park.

Keys earlier swept past French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-3 6-2.

Keys has returned after a struggle in 2021 and hopes to come back fighting to regain her place as number seven in the rankings.

Speaking after the match, Keys said: “Last year was really hard, and I did everything I could with my team to really reset this off-season and focus on starting fresh and new, and really just starting from zero and not worrying about last year. And wow, that’s going well so far.”

Krejcikova’s defeat also means that Barty will retain the world number one ranking after the Australian Open.

In the men’s singles, Jannik Sinner will face Stefanos Tsitsipas while Felix Auger-Aliassime will take on the number two in the world, Daniil Medvedev.

These matches take place on Wednesday 26 January 2022. Sinner and Tsitsipas are set to commence play at 4am GMT

In the women’s singles Danielle Collins will play Alize Cornet and Iga Swiatek will take on Kaia Kanepi.

These matches will also be played on Wednesday 26 January 2022 and are scheduled to start at midnight GMT and 2am GMT respectively.

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