Australian Open: Rafael Nadal, Petra Kvitova through to semifinals | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.01.2019
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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal, Petra Kvitova through to semifinals

Second seed Rafael Nadal is to face up-and-coming star Stefanos Tsitsipas after cruising through his quarterfinal match. Petra Kvitova is through to her first Grand Slam semifinal since being injured in a 2016 attack.

Second seed Rafael Nadal had little trouble with 21-year-old Frances Tiafoe of the United States, cruising into the Australian Open semifinals in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday. The Spaniard, who is coming off foot surgery after he limped out of last year's US Open, broke Tiafoe's service game in each set on the way to victory, which took an hour and 47 minutes to complete. 

Nadal, 32, has been in top form, winning every set he's played in the tournament so far – the first time he's done so en route to the semifinals since 2009, the only time he's won the first Grand Slam of the season. 

"I've had some trouble at this event all my career so I am very happy with the way I played tonight," Nadal said. "I feel lucky to be where I am after what I went through to be able to compete at this level. That's why I get up in the morning and go to the gym and work hard."

Tsitsipas hungry for more

Nadal now moves on to face 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2) to become the youngest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Novak Djokovic in 2007 and the youngest to do so in Melbourne since Andy Roddick reached the 2003 semis.

 
The No. 14 seed, who had eliminated defending men's champion Roger Federer in the round of 16, is clearly hungry for more.

"That's the first step. That's where you start from, then you move on," Tsitsipas told reporters afterwards. "I'm happy that I reached my goal. But that's the starting point to go deeper. That's the minimum, I would call it." 

Collins' unlikely winning streak continues

On the women's side, Danielle Collins reached her first Grand Slam semifinal after coming back to overpower Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1. Prior to this Australian Open, the 25-year-old American hadn't won a single Grand Slam match, but now she is on a five-match winning streak with victories over three seeded players – including 2016 winner Angelique Kerber,  whom she beat in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals. Collins now moves on to play Petra Kvitova.

Highlight of Kvitova's 'second career'

Kvitova advanced by beating Australian Ash Barty 6-1, 6-4 in the Rod Laver Arena. The 28-year-old Czech brushed away tears as she said in the on-court interview that she had never even imagined playing there again. 

"I'm calling this my second career. So it's the first semifinal of the second career," Kvitova said. "I'm really enjoying it."

The two-time Wimbledon champion missed the 2017 Australian Open as she recovered from severe injuries to her left hand sustained during a home invasion in the Czech Republic in late 2016. Her previous best run at a major since recovering from her injuries had been reaching the quarterfinals of the 2017 US Open.

pfd/mf (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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