Rafael Nadal soars into Australian Open after gritty four-set victory

Rafael Nadal is one win away from setting a men’s record for the 21st Grand Slam title after beating Italy’s seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 on Friday to reach the Australian Open final in Melbourne, Australia reach.

A win for Nadal in Sunday’s final against Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas will break the tie with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and give him the only record for most Grand Slam singles titles.

While it was raining outside, 35-year-old Nadal made a quick start under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena and took control by breaking the serve of Wimbledon finalist Berrettini early in each of the first two sets.

Berrettini finally came alive in the third and began to force Nadal back with his forehands, causing a stoppage of service forcing a fourth set.

The Spaniard got the crucial break in the eighth game when the Italian’s unforced errors mounted and another mistake allowed Nadal to convert his first match point after a battle that lasted two hours and 55 minutes.

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