Rafael Nadal is known to take down his younger opponents in an aggressive fashion and that is exactly what he has shown this year at the Australian Open, paving his way to the final where he clashes with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the title on Sunday.
Nadal, who had won the Australian Open title ten years ago, will fight for his second title in Melbourne. The Spaniard came into the tournament after poor luck with injuries at the end of last season and even pulled out of the warm-up event in Brisbane earlier this month.
But the 17-times Grand Slam winner has roared back to his dominant best ahead of a 53rd career meeting with the in-form Djokovic. Here is how Nadal scripted his journey to the final:
ROAD TO FINAL:
Rafael Nadal brushed past James Duckworth in the first round after showcasing his new serve during a 6-4 6-3 7-5 victory over the Australian wildcard in warm weather on Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal showed a glimpse of his best form in the recent past as he eased past home favourite Matthew Ebden of Australia to reach the third round, winning by 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Second seed Rafael Nadal made an impressive statement by beating home teenager Alex de Minaur in little over two hours at the Australian Open. The 32-year old converted his sixth match point to win 6-1 6-2 6-4 in their third-round match in Melbourne.
Second seed Rafael Nadal swept aside former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals without dropping a set. He beat Czech Berdych 6-0 6-1 7-6 (7-4).
Rafael Nadal marched into the semi-finals with a crushing defeat of the young American Frances Tiafoe without losing a single set till then in the tournament. Tifoe bowed out 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in only an hour and 47 minutes.
Nadal ended Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas’ captivating run to reach his fifth Australian Open final. Nadal, 32, was in devastating form as he beat the 20-year-old 14th seed 6-2 6-4 6-0 in one hour and 46 minutes. The Spaniard cracked 28 winners, breaking Tsitsipas’ serve six times and only facing one break point himself.