Rafael Nadal is nearly as automated as they come when holding a significant lead, but that had not been the case in Wednesday’s Australian Open quarterfinals. Regardless of having a two-set lead, Nadal was distressed by No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-set affair that ended 3-6, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-5. It is just the second time in 225 major suits that Nadal lost when holding a two-set lead.
Fabio Fognini got over a two-set deficit to defeat Nadal at the U.S. Open back in 2015. Tsitsipas ended up winning the last 3 collections of the suit to breakthrough to the semifinals where he’ll deal with Daniil Medvedev on Friday.
“MELBOURNE, Australia — For the 225th time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal grabbed a two-set lead in a Grand Slam match. For only the second time, he blew that big edge and lost.
A couple of uncharacteristically sloppy overheads and a framed backhand in a third-set tiebreaker began Nadal’s undoing, and his bid for a men’s-record 21st major championship eventually ended in the Australian Open quarterfinals Wednesday with 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-5 loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I have to go back home,” Nadal said, “and practice to be better.”
At his put-the-ball-where-he-wants-it best in the early going, Nadal went ahead rather easily, winning 27 consecutive points on his serve in one stretch and running his streak of consecutive sets won at major tournaments to 35, one shy of Roger Federer’s record for the professional era.
Nadal and Federer are currently tied at 20 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other man in the history of a sport that dates to the late 1800s.”Source