MELBOURNE: Rafa Nadal has drawn within two wins of a record 21st Grand Slam title, claiming a five-set thriller against Denis Shapovalov to grind into the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.
On a steamy afternoon at Rod Laver Arena, the warrior Spaniard suffered a huge scare as Shapovalov roared back from two sets down before bowing out 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 after four taxing hours.
After dropping the fourth set, Nadal marshalled his resources off court with a medical time-out then returned to break Shapovalov in the second game to wrest back the momentum.
Djokovic plans 2023 Australian Open return: tournament chief
Channelling the experience of 20 Grand Slam titles, Nadal kept the Canadian at arm's length then sealed one of his great wins when Shapovalov pushed a volley wide and ended up smashing his racket into the court in anguish.
Nadal will meet the winner of Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils for a place in the final.