Rafa Nadal stepped on the accelerator completely this Sunday at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. For the first time so far this tournament, the Spaniard went full throttle to win the first set in a memorable tie break against Adrian Mannarino and then the roller passed due to the moral and physical collapse of his rival (7-6 (12), 6-2 and 6-1 in 2h40). In this way, entered the quarterfinals for the 14th time at the Australian Open, an achievement with which he equals local John Newcombe in second place in the all-time table, only behind Roger Federer (15). On Tuesday will face, for a place in the semifinals, the Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who surprisingly went over (6-3, 7-6 (5) and 6-3) the German Alexander Zverev, third favorite.
The signals that Nadal transmitted in the mentioned tie-break and even in some moments before reaching it, were magnificent. Mannarino, a left-handed stylist, embroidered tennis with sagacity, technique and class, in a “fast and flat” way, as the Spaniard explained after the match, so brilliant that it did not allow him to find break options. In fact, he didn’t have them. A whole first round in which he only won 10 points from the rest before that wonderful resolution in the formerly called sudden death.
Pick your jaw up off the floor…😲😲😲@Rafael Nadal clinches the first set in an EPIC cat and mouse tiebreak 7-6(14).
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2022
There was everything there, so many wonderful things, nerves, tension, mistakes and a bit of luck that accompanied Rafa in the closing, on his seventh set point, when a ball thrown from his forehand hit the net and went across the court. Mannarino returned it to the manacorí’s body, who brilliantly got rid of it and caused the Frenchman to fail. Nadal’s celebration, raising and lowering his fists at waist level, was remarkable, with the spectators amazed and standing up.
the famous roller
From there, his opponent, very touched in all aspects after an inhuman effort that had no reward and for which he perhaps deserved more, He offered little resistance and the winner of 20 Grand Slams mercilessly passed his famous roller. He assiduously created those break opportunities that he had not been able to produce before and fine-tuned his serve (16 aces and 88% of points with firsts) to execute the coffee grower Adrian with 42 winners. Nadal’s sensations, at least from the outside, are once again magnificent. At that level, he is capable of anything. His rivals are warned and the history of tennis, too.
Australian Open Men’s Draw.