Australian Open Men’s Semifinal Predictions

Story posted January 26, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Daniel Maiorana

Into the second week of the 2022 Australian Open, many saw these four in the semifinals from the jump.

Rafael Nadal has taken some tough blows from opponents, including a demanding five-set win over Denis Shapovalov. In the fifth set we saw Nadal’s level drop in the four-hour battle. While it was visible his movement wasn’t there due to his ankle, that is all past us as he now gets set to face Matteo Berrettini.

Berrettini has only played one match where he won in three straight sets, but that is due to the tough road he’s had to take to get to the semifinals that included a five-set win over Carlos Alcaraz and a five-set win over Gael Monfils. Berrettini has proved to many why he deserves to be praised as a Grand Slam contender. With three victories over ranked opponents in the top-32, Berrettini looks to keep his game on point against the 20-time Grand Slam Champion.

Daniil Medvedev, the favorite to many even when Novak Djokovic was in the draw, has sailed somewhat smoothly to the semifinals. His main hiccup came in the quarterfinals where he won the last three sets against Felix Auger-Aliassime. Each set came down to the wire as they both accumulated 182 total points scored in the match in just under five hours. We all know how well Medvedev’s fitness is, and his wear-and-tear style of play will be met by Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas has had a forehand nearer the gods, hitting winners left and right whether it be on the run or off the return-of-serve. His toughest task came in the fourth round against American Taylor Fritz. It was a back-and-forth battle that ended in Tsitsipas breaking serve in the last two sets to secure a semifinals spot.

Tsitsipas’ groundstrokes will have to be on point with Medvedev, but where he can win the match will be at the net. He is much more technically sound at the net than Medvedev, so it will come down to who ends up with more points at the net.

No. 6 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 7 Matteo Berrettini

Nadal will look to pound the weaker side of Berrettini, that being the backhand wing. The balls are bouncing at a faster speed than usual thanks to temperatures constantly being above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nadal has his best chance perhaps during his whole career at winning a major this Australian Open. The great Djokovic and Roger Federer aren’t around to stop him from reaching a record 21 Grand Slams. Look for Nadal to stick to his usual strategy with the banana forehand to come out on top.

Berrettini’s serve needs to be on point just as it has been all tournament, where during his match versus Pablo Carreño Busta he hit 87 percent of first serves in. The extra day of rest should prove to be important after his five-set match versus Monfils. With age on his side as well as a massive forehand, Berrettini will hope to have all cylinders firing to reach his second overall Grand Slam final.

Prediction: Nadal in four sets.

No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. No. 2 Daniil Medvedev

A rematch of last years’ semifinal where Medvedev took command throughout, these young stars are ready to add their names in Australian Open history.

Tsitsipas has looked his best this tournament, mainly during his quarterfinal win against Jannik Sinner. The Greek wasn’t even favored to win the match, but those odds quickly shifted . With the odds once again against Tsitsipas, how will he handle the wall of Medvedev that has ended his Grand Slam runs multiple times before?

Medvedev’s journey to a first Australian Open is only getting started as the rest of the field is eyeing his name. Medvedev has lost twice in the last three times these two have faced off, but he has come out victorious every time they’ve played on a hardcourt. This match can go either way, but the clutch moments usually tend to go in the favor of the Russian.

Prediction: Medvedev in five sets.

 

Daniel Maiorana is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email dkm5903@psu.edu.