Back from four months off, Rafael Nadal has saved his energy by rallying the quarterfinals of the Australian Open without losing a set Sunday in Melbourne. Roger Federer will try to imitate him, opposed to the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, incarnation of the rising youth.
. Saving Nadal
Arrived in Melbourne after a little over four months without competition and a variety of physical problems (knee, abs, ankle and thigh), Nadal did not let slip any run in four games. His latest victim, the Czech Tomas Berdych, ex-N.4 world today 57th, however, was only one point to steal the third set (6-5). But a winning forehand and a decisive game mastered later, the 32-year-old Majorcan won 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).
This scare aside, "Rafa", looking for an 18th Grand Slam title, did not tremble. He even won the first nine games of the game.
For a spot in the final four, the Spaniard will face the young American Frances Tiafoe (39th), in the quarter-finals Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
Federer faces the young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, 15th in the world and newcomer in the round of 16 of a major tournament at the age of 20.
If the double winner of the trophy is needed, the reunion at the top between Federer and Nadal will be more than a match to become reality.
. Sharapova can not do it anymore
She has won five Grand Slam crowns, but since her return from suspension for meldonium doping in the spring of 2017, Maria Sharapova has only known the Grand Slam quarterfinals (Roland-Garros in 2018).
Melbourne was not more generous with her, especially since she was opposed to an Australian, Ashleigh Barty (15th): the 31-year-old Russian, former world No. 1 today 30th, there is was stopped in the round of 16, cleverly maneuvered by Barty, the game while variations and skillful at the net (4-6, 6-1, 6-4).
Sharapova had, however, won her first victory over a top-five player in the previous round for almost a year and a half at the expense of Caroline Wozniacki, N.3 World and outgoing winner.
At 22, Barty is the first Australian quarter-finalist in Melbourne for ten years. She will challenge the Czech world No. 6 Petra Kvitova, who has lost in less than an hour (6-2, 6-1) to American teenager Amanda Anisimova (17).
. Hurricane Collins strikes again
After Caroline Garcia (19th), she is the world N.2 and triple Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber (Australian Open 2016, US Open 2016 and Wimbledon 2017) who was swept away by hurricane Danielle Collins (35th) 6-0, 6-2 in 56 minutes.
Before the Australian Open - his first - Collins had never won a single Grand Slam game in five attempts.
So surprise? "Honestly, no," she says with confidence.
And the 25-year-old American does not intend to stop there. "I may not have won a Grand Slam game before, but I'll tell you something, I think it's going to continue to happen," she says.
Coming late on the circuit after giving priority to his studies, Collins displays an overflowing confidence and an immoderate passion for the competition. "Even at karaoke: I do not have a beautiful voice but (...) I always say that I'm the best!", Smiles the Floridienne, who starts only her third season as a professional player.
. Happy birthday Tiafoe!
Grand Slam first quarterfinal on day 21: Frances Tiafoe (39) got a nice birthday present by defeating Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (21st) after more than three and a half hours of fighting 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (1/7), 7-5.
The young American of Sierra Leonean descent, who knelt on the court, welcomed this new stage with great emotion.
"Ten years ago, I told my parents that I would become a professional player, that I was going to change their lives and mine, and here I am in the Grand Slam quarterfinals, at age 21. not to believe it, "he breathed after wiping a few tears, his voice still trembling with emotion.
Before the Australian Open, his best Grand Slam result was a third round (Wimbledon 2018). He who toppled South African Kevin Anderson (N.6) in the second round will now tackle a mountain named Nadal. "It's in his interest to be ready!", Joked Tiafoe, already assured to climb in the top 30 at the end of the Australian fortnight.