Australian Open 2021: Rafael Nadal Fails to Tie Roger Federer’s Elite Record in Grand Slams

Published 02/17/2021, 6:36 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 17, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


Superstar Spaniard Rafael Nadal missed out on equaling old foe Roger Federer’s record for winning the highest number of consecutive sets in Grand Slam tournaments.

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The Swiss icon, who skipped this year’s Australian Open citing lack of fitness, set his incredible mark between 2006 and 2007.

Nadal now level with John McEnroe with 35 straight Grand Slam set wins

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The World Number 2 came within a whisker of matching Federer’s landmark, having won the opening two sets in his quarter-final showdown against Stefanos Tsitsipas at a canter. However, he lost the tie-breaker in the third set 4-7, thereby ensuring that Federer’s record stands, for now.

However, the Spaniard, who is already level with the Swiss Master for the highest number of Grand Slam championships in the men’s game, with 20 titles apiece, equaled yesteryear legend John McEnroe’s mark in 1984.

However, despite missing out on this unique landmark, it was all Nadal in the opening two sets as he overwhelmed the current World Number 6 with trademark winners off the baseline.

 

Rafael Nadal lost the third-set tie-break in QF clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas

Contrary to what had been feared after his unflattering first serve percentage in the fourth-round win over Italian Fabio Fognini, Nadal got over 80% of his first serves in during the opening two games.

Against Fognini, Nadal’s overall first-serve percentage tallied 60%, which was significantly lower than his career reading of 68%.

Even as he took the opening set without dropping as much as a sweat in his Round-4 battle, the percentage of his first serves had dropped abysmally to 40%.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 13, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his third round match against Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Loren Elliott

As the third set moved to a tie-break, there was hope that the Spaniard, who was high on momentum at the time, would cruise it and storm into the last-four with another straight-set win.

However, Tsitsipas opened up a three-point lead in the tie-break and held on to his advantage to win the third set 7-6.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

863 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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