Tennis

Nadal, Barty dumped out of Australian Open quarter-finals

Rafael Nadal's bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title came crashing to a halt at the Australian Open yesterday, as Stefanos Tsitsipas toppled the Spaniard 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-5 to reach the semi-finals.

World No. 2 Nadal had not lost a set coming into the clash at Rod Laver Arena and was locked on target for the last four at Melbourne Park after roaring to a two-set lead over the listless Greek.

The match turned on its head when Nadal, 34, wavered in a messy third-set tiebreak, and a rejuvenated Tsitsipas rallied brilliantly to take the match into a decider.

Capturing Nadal's serve at 5-5 in the fifth, Tsitsipas saw two match-points slip through his fingers as he served for the match, but the 22-year-old fired a backhand winner down the line on the third to claim one of his finest career victories.

"Well done for him, he played better than me probably in the important moments," said Nadal.

"I tried my best in every single moment... I stayed positive all the time during the match, fighting, and it was not enough."

Fifth seed Tsitsipas will meet Daniil Medvedev for a place in the final after the Russian beat compatriot Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.

"I fly like a little bird and everything was working for me," Tsitsipas said on court.

"The emotions in the end are indescribable."

In the women's draw, top seed and home favourite Ashleigh Barty's title hopes were also extinguished after the 24-year-old lost 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to Czech surprise package Karolina Muchova.

Muchova's semi-final opponent will be Jennifer Brady, who beat her fellow American and close friend Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. - REUTERS

Tennis