Australian Open 2021: Rafael Nadal upset by Stefanos Tsitsipas in quarterfinals

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Rafael Nadal is nearly as automatic as they come when holding a significant lead, but that wasn’t the case in Wednesday’s Australian Open quarterfinals. Despite having a two-set lead, Nadal was upset 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 matches that Nadal lost when holding a two-set lead.

Fabio Fognini overcame a two-set deficit to defeat Nadal at the U.S. Open back in 2015. Tsitsipas ended up winning the final three sets of the match to advance to the semifinals where he’ll face Daniil Medvedev on Friday.

“I have no words to describe what has just happened on the court, my tennis speaks for itself,” Tsitsipas said after the match. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to fight at such a high level and leave it out on the court. I started very nervously. I don’t know what happened after the third set. I flew like a bird and everything worked for me.”

In the process, Nadal missed out on a chance at history. The Spaniard had a chance to win his 21st Grand Slam tournament, which would’ve broken the tie between Roger Federer and himself for the most ever.

Prior to Wednesday, Nadal hadn’t lost a set throughout his road to the quarterfinals in Melbourne. That all changed in the third set when Tsitsipas really found his groove. In the fourth set, Tsitsipas continued to find his composure and forced Nadal to defend several break points.

Tsitsipas will now face Medvedev in the semifinals while Novak Djokovic will take on Asian Karatsev in the other semifinal matchup.

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