MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest at the Australian Open on Friday (all times local):
Rafael Nadal stayed on track for a men’s-record 21st Grand Slam singles title when he beat Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open semifinals.
Nadal was dominant throughout the first two sets, moving the Italian around the court while dictating play. After Nadal took a 4-0 lead in the second set, seventh-seeded Berrettini had won only one point on his second serve in 11 attempts.
With the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena because of heavy local rain, and the subsequent high humidity in the building, the ball was heavy and flat, helping Nadal keep the ball in play. Nearly all of the long rallies in the first two sets went the sixth-seeded Spanish left-hander’s way.
But Berrettini turned it around midway through the third set. After not having a break point until then, Berrettini had three in the eighth game of the third set and converted his second, taking a 5-3 lead. He then held serve in the next game on four consecutive points to send the match to a fourth set.
Nadal took control again when he broke Berrettini’s serve in the eighth game of the fourth set. He then held to clinch the match, then pumped his arm three times in celebration.
Nadal is tied with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on 20 major singles titles. Nadal will play the winner of the later semifinal between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday night’s final.
Kristina Mladenovic of France and Ivan Dodig of Croatia have defeated Australian players Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-4 to win the mixed doubles championship.
Mladenovic also won the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open in 2014 with Daniel Nestor and has two women’s doubles titles in 2018 and 2020 in Australia among her five major women’s doubles titles.
Dodig has three other Grand Slam mixed doubles titles and two in men’s doubles, including last year’s Australian Open title with Filip Polášek.
Next up on Rod Laver Arena is the first men’s singles semifinal between Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini. Nadal is looking to continue his quest for a record 21st Grand Slam singles title if he can advance to Sunday’s final.
Australian players Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler will have the home crowd behind them on Rod Laver Arena when they take on Kristina Mladenovic of France and Ivan Dodig of Croatia in the mixed doubles championship.
Mladenovic and Dodig are seeded fifth in the event while the Australian pair are unseeded.
The match forms a prelude for the first men’s singles semifinal between Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini. Nadal is looking to continue his quest for a record 21st Grand Slam singles title if he can advance to Sunday’s final, while the Italian player is hoping for his first.
The other semifinal is a night match at Rod Laver — second-seeded Daniil Medvedev plays Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Russian player will be trying to win his second major in a row after capturing last year’s U.S. Open.
Tsitsipas has made three semifinals at Melbourne Park but never advanced to the final.
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