MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal is within one victory of a record 21st Grand Slam singles title.
The 35-year-old Spaniard advanced to the Australian Open final for a sixth time with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win Friday over seventh-seeded Matteo Berrettini.
After the last point, Nadal stopped, beamed a wide grin and then punched the air three times.
Nadal arrived in Australia not knowing how long he'd last after months off the tour dealing with an injured foot and then a bout of COVID-19. He skipped Wimbledon after losing in the French Open semifinals to Novak Djokovic, and didn't play at all after August last year.
"Every day has been an issue in terms of problems on the foot. Doubts still here ... probably for the rest of my career because I have what I have and that's something that we cannot fix," Nadal said. "But for me it's amazing ... (to) just compete and play tennis at the high level again, facing the most important players of the world."