Rafael Nadal Is Out of the Australian Open

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal Is Out of the Australian Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas upset Nadal in five sets in Melbourne, ending his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam mens singles championship.

Rafael Nadal Is Out of the Australian Open – The New York Times

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Rafael Nadal Is Out of the Australian Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas upset Nadal in five sets in Melbourne, ending his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles championship.

Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open run ended in a five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas.Credit…William West/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Feb. 17, 2021Updated 10:05 a.m. ET

MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal’s bid for a record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title ended Wednesday night when he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the quarterfinals at .

Tsitsipas dropped the first two sets but came back to defeat Nadal, the second-ranked player in the world, 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-5, in a grueling, four-hour duel for the biggest Grand Slam win of his career.

Nadal, of Spain, played a near flawless first three sets, not allowing a break of his serve or even a break point, and he appeared in full control of the match. But in the third-set tiebreaker, he missed two overheads and sent a backhand wide to give Tsitsipas the tiebreaker and a lifeline.

, Tsitsipas dropped his racket when it was over, made a cross on his chest and look toward the sky.

The final game was a microcosm of the match. An early lead for Nadal, followed by Tsitsipas storming back, Nadal fighting off two match points to give himself a chance to survive, before netting a forehand volley and watching Tsitsipas blast a backhand down the line to clinch the match.

since last year’s Australian Open and has missed all three Grand Slams since tennis returned in August just before the United States Open. He plans to return to competition in the coming weeks.

Nadal skipped the United States Open as well, but he returned for the French Open weeks later and won it to tie Federer with 20 singles titles.

Nadal was not the favorite in this tournament, which he has won just once, in 2009, though he has come close on other occasions, most notably in 2012, when he lost in five sets to Novak Djokovic in a match that last a record five hours, 53 minutes. The tournament is contested on fast hardcourts, which challenge Nadal far more than the slow red clay in Paris or the softer grass at Wimbledon, which inflicts less wear and tear on his body.

Nadal complained of lower back pain earlier in the tournament, but said Wednesday night it was not an issue against Tsitsipas.

in the semifinal. He said he woke up Wednesday in a state of serenity, with a sense that things would go his way.

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