Australian Open: Rafael Nadal overcomes stomach problem to beat Denis Shapovalov in five-set thriller

The Spaniard is trying to break the record for most men’s Grand Slam titles, a milestone he currently shares with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Nadal is now just two games away from the Dodger 21 Grand Slam title and will face either Matteo Berrettini or Gael Monfils in the semi-finals.

There have been questions about Nadal’s fitness to go to Melbourne after the 35-year-old struggled with injuries and a bout of Covid-19 last year, but the 20-times Grand Slam champion showed on Tuesday he is ready to fight back.

His feud with Shapovalov lasted more than four hours and Nadal had to deal with a stomach problem, an issue that required medication during the match.

“I started to feel like I’m not feeling well in my stomach, so I ordered something, and they took the tension and checked everything was fine in my body and some tablets to try and improve my stomach,” Nadal said after the match.

“I’m not 21 anymore…After this match it’s great to have two days off. I felt very good physically in terms of movement but the conditions weren’t that hot.”

Rafael Nadal receives attention during treatment in his quarter-final match against Denis Shapovalov.

I was completely destroyed

Nadal led in two sets after a superb start to the match, but his Canadian opponent was forced to make a decisive decision after he regained his form in time.

Shapovalov was fired earlier in the match after appearing to conflict with Nadal’s lead time between points.

His frustration finally became too much in the second set and he shot up in the face of the chair umpire shouting, “You all are rotten.”

After forcing Nadal into the final set, Shapovalov appeared to run out of steam as the Spaniard used his wealth of experience to cross the streak.

A wide grin spread across Nadal’s face after Shapovalov saw his attempt to land a shot at match point, as the Canadian dumped his last frustration on his racket.

“I don’t know, frankly,” Nadal said when asked how he won the match. “I was totally devastated after that. A very hard day, very warm.

“Honestly, I didn’t train for this. I was a bit lucky at the start of match five. At the start of the match I was playing great, then I know how hard it is to play against a player like Denis.

“He’s very talented, very aggressive. He served great, especially the second serve.”

Both men’s semi-finals are taking place on Fridays this year which means Nadal will have plenty of time to rest and recover from another exciting match in Melbourne.

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