Novak Djokovic gives assessment on Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open exit after reaching fina
Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas reacts to victory over Nadal
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Novak Djokovic has admitted Rafael Nadal’s exit from the Australian Open proved to be the “best match of the tournament” after Stefanos Tsitsipas’ heroic comeback against the world No 2. Djokovic was on his day off as Tsitsipas and Nadal prepared to battle for a place in the Australian Open semi-final on Wednesday.
It was tipped to be a close match from the outset but Tsitsipas had no answer for Nadal in the opening two sets.
The match looked to be heading in one direction at that point with Nadal looking confident, but the Greek tennis star soon began to fight back.
Both players were giving nothing away in the third set before going to a tiebreak where the tide turned in Tsitsipas’ favour as he got on the board.
That gave Tsitsipas the momentum to level the score in the second set before going on to complete a remarkable comeback victory in the decider.
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Djokovic admits that he began watching just before Tsitsipas started to get a foothold in the match and praised both players for producing high-level tennis.
“I did watch it from midway third set,” Nadal said.
“I thought Stefanos did incredibly well to hang in there.
“Rafa was playing amazing. He was dominating the match. Somehow he turned it around.
“Stefanos played a really solid tiebreak and next thing you know he’s in the match.
“It was a high-quality match, probably the best match of the tournament so far. Both these guys played a very high level.”
Djokovic came through his semi-final test against qualifier Aslan Karatsev on Thursday, meaning he will face either Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final.
And the Serbian has tipped Medvedev to be the man to come through the semi-final contest.
“Speaking of a high-level, Medvedev is the guy who played at probably the highest level in the last three or four months,” Djokovic said.
“I mean, he’s on a winning streak – winning indoor tournaments, World Tour Finals, he had one Grand Slam final in US Open a couple of years ago against Rafa in the US Open and Stefanos has never reached a final so it’s going to be interesting to see them play.
“It’s always really high intensity match between the two of them. They’re a very good match-up, both are playing great.
“I’m going to take the popcorn and enjoy it.”
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