Australian Open: Rafael Nadal eases past Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach final | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 24.01.2019
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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal eases past Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach final

Rafael Nadal dominated Tsitsipas to reach Australian Open men's final. Japan's Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic are to face each other in women's final, which will also determine No. 1 ranking.

Rafa Nadal beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 on Thursday to end the 20-year-old Greek's surprising run at the Australian Open and reach his fifth final at Melbourne Park.

The Spanish second seed tamed Tsitsipas' serve and racked up 28 sparkling winners against the man who had knocked out double defending champion Roger Federer in the fourth round.

After roaring out to a 5-0 lead in the final set, Nadal closed out the match with a big serve after one hour and 46 minutes.

The 32-year-old Nadal, whose only Australian Open title came in 2009, now moves on to face either top seed Novak Djokovic or Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the final as he bids for an 18th Grand Slam crown.

Osaka to face Kivtova in women's final

On the women's side, Naomi Osaka fought off a challenge from Karolina Pliskova to win their semifinal 6:2, 4:6, 6:4. This is the second straight final at a major for the 21-year-old Japanese, who shot to prominence in the tennis world by beating Serena Williams at last year's US Open.

Tennis Australian Open 2019 Naomi Osaka (Getty Images/C. Spencer)

Naomi Osaka is set to play in her second straight Grand Slam final

Osaka, the fourth seed, said she had not been surprised by Pliskova's fight back in the second set.

"So I just told myself to regroup in the third set, and no matter what just try as hard as I can and I managed to win," she said.

Osaka is to face another Czech, Petra Kvitova, in Saturday's final, after she beat Danielle Collins of the United States 7-6. (7-2), 6-0, ending the 25-year-old American's improbable run, in which she beat three seeded players to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal.

"It means everything," Kvitova said after the match. "That's why I worked very hard to be in the finals of the tournament, final of the major. Finally, I could make it deep into a major, and I really enjoy a final, and whatever happens, I'm really very, very happy."

The 28-year-old, who also won Wimbledon in 2011, was the victim of a  knife attack at her home in late 2016,  which severely damaged her left hand, putting her entire career in doubt. Whichever player wins the women's final will take over the No. 1 ranking from Simona Halep, who was eliminated from the Australian Open in the round of 16. 

pfd/mf (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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