Nadal wins after five grueling sets

Rafael Nadal advanced to the Australian Open semis after a four-hour long match against Denis Shapovalov. Nadal is trying to win his 21st major.

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January 25, 2022 - 9:37 AM

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand in his first-round singles match against Marcos Giron of the United States during day one of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images/TNS) Photo by TNS

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — With another Australian Open semifinal spot secured after a four-hour, five-set victory, Rafael Nadal looked toward his support team in Rod Laver Arena and nodded his head.

It was like he was just confirming the plan: Five wins down, two to go in his bid for a men’s record 21st major title.

On the other side of the net, 14th-seeded Denis Shapovalov broke his racket on the hard blue court after a frustrating 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 loss to Nadal, who later acknowledged he felt “destroyed” physically on a hot afternoon.

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