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

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

Nadal is now just two games away from that elusive 21st Grand Slam title, where he will face either Matteo Berrettini or Gael Monfils in the semifinals.

Questions have been raised over the 35-year-old’s fitness going into Melbourne after battling injuries and a bout of Covid-19 last year, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion showed on Tuesday he was ready for the competition ready.

His altercation with Shapovalov lasted more than four hours and Nadal had to battle a stomach ailment that required medication during the match.

“I started to feel bad for my stomach, so I asked for something, they relieved the pressure, checked my body and everything was fine, and gave me some pills to improve my stomach,” Nadal said after the game.

“I’m not 21 anymore… It’s nice to have two days off after this game. I feel good about sports, but the conditions are not that hot.”

READ: Djokovic returns to Belgrade after being deported from Australia
Rafael Nadal is under the spotlight with a medical suspension in his quarterfinal match against Denis Shapovalov.

“I was completely devastated”

Nadal had a two-set lead after an impressive start to the game, but his Canadian opponent forced a tiebreaker after finding his form in time.

Shapovalov was dismissed earlier in the game as he appeared to dispute Nadal’s interval between the two points.

His frustration finally grew too much in the second set, and he yelled at the referee: “You’re all corrupt.”

After forcing Nadal into the final set, Shapovalov appeared to lose momentum as the Spaniard used his vast experience to cross the line.

Nadal had a big smile on Nadal’s face after Shapovalov saw his volley out at match point, while the Canadian vented his final frustration with his racket.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Nadal said when asked how he won the game. “I was totally devastated after that. Very tough day, very warm.

“Honestly, I didn’t practice for it. I was a little bit lucky at the start of the fifth inning. I played really well at the start of the game and then I knew how difficult it was to play against guys like Dennis.

“He’s talented and aggressive. His serve is great, especially the second serve.”

Both men’s semi-finals are on Friday this year, meaning Nadal will have plenty of time to rest and recover from another thriller in Melbourne.


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