TennisSection previews the 2022 Australian Open as Rafael Nadal takes on Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinal on Tuesday, January 25th, 2022.
Rafael Nadal is inching ever closer to a double career Grand Slam. The super Spaniard is three wins away from achieving that feat and potentially break the Grand Slam record count. However, the Australian Open has not been a happy hunting Slam since winning the title in 2009. Can he fall victim to Denis Shapovalov on Tuesday?
It goes without saying Rafael Nadal owns a very commendable record at the Australian Open. With a title to his name and a multitude of runner-up finishes, it is a return that half of the tour would kill for. But given his lofty standards, Nadal should have at least added one more Norman Brookes Cup from Down Under in his trophy cabinet. After years of near-misses and brutal luck, the stars are aligning for a potential coronation on Sunday. But the Spaniard will be wary of the in-form Denis Shapovalov who has exceeded pre-tournament expectations to reach this stage.
Denis Shapovalov is into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time. And the Canadian lefty is quickly rising to the challenge. Shapovalov produced arguably the best win of his short career with a rousing and slightly unexpected straight-sets win over third-seeded Alexander Zverev. Canada could well have two representatives in the last eight should Auger-Aliassime defeat Marin Cilic.
Rafael Nadal leads Denis Shapovalov 3-1 in their head-to-head. Two of the Spaniard’s wins have come on clay – his best surface by a mile. Shapovalov famously stunned the 20-time Major winner on home soil in the Rogers Cups in 2017, pinching a third-set tiebreak win. While he can run Nadal ragged in rallies with his brute firepower from that lefty forehand, he is extremely erratic from the backhand wing. Nadal utilized his deft backhand slice to disrupt Adrian Mannarino’s rhythm in the previous round. But Shapovalov’s extra spin in his ground strokes means that Nadal’s pattern of play will likely not be of greater success. Still, I expect the Spaniard’s disciplined baseline game to wear down the Canadian in a classic.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Rafael Nadal in five sets.
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