Nadal raced into a two-set lead early on Rod Laver Arena, leaving Berrettini with too big a mountain to climb as the Spaniard moved within one win of a second title in Melbourne and a 21st Grand Slam title overall. Frequently taking up a position inside the baseline during longer rallies, he pinned his opponent deep in the court through a barrage of top-spin forehands to the Berrettini backhand.
The tactic earned Nadal early breaks in sets one and two, the World No. 7 getting few opportunities to gain any sort of foothold in his third Grand Slam semi-final.
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Berrettini was finally able to settle into some sort of rhythm, at one point winning 23 consecutive points on serve as he struck back to force a fourth set. Nadal stayed solid to seal victory, however, avoiding a similar ordeal to his five-set marathon with Denis Shapovalov in the quarter-finals. 2009 Melbourne champion Nadal sealed the 500th hard-court match win of his career having offered up just two break points in the match and making just 19 unforced errors across the four sets.
More to follow…