Australian Open, quarterfinals
Dominic Tim – Rafael Nadal 7-6 (3) 7-6 (4) 4-6 7-6 (6)
Dominic Team delivered the biggest surprise of this year’s Australian Open and eliminated world No.1 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal phase of the race. The Austrian played a perfect match at a very high level and although he missed the success of his service at 5-4 in the fourth, he prevailed in a tiebreaker – 7-6 (3) 7-6 (4) 4-6 7-6 (6) after over 4 hours of play at Rod Laver Arena.
Thus, World No. 5 qualifies for its first Slam semi-final outside of Roland Garros, where it has four appearances at this stage. In addition, Dominic knocked off last year’s finalist in Melbourne from the top of the rankings and from next Monday Novak Djokovic will return to the top spot.
In the battle for a place in his third major, Team will face off Alexander Zverev, who eliminated Stan Vavrinka.
The Austrian played an extremely high-speed duel against Nadal. He controlled most of the play from the bottom of the court, both forehand and backhand, outperforming his opponent in speed, thus outpacing the Spaniard in his own game. Dominic makes the most of the key points. He saved the set-up in the first half, and although at some point in the meeting Rafa regained his composure, the Austrian did not lower his level to succeed.
It was Dominic’s fifth win against the 19-time 14-time Slam champion, as well as a sweet revenge for losing the 2019 Roland Garros final, which was their last fight.
From the beginning it became clear that a spectacular battle was ahead. The team moved even better than Matador, diversifying the game with more frequent net appearances, but it also performed very well in base line play. A great weapon in his game was the forehand of rights, which repeatedly brought him an advantage in points.
Rafa also played at a high level, with both winners outgrowing serious unforced errors. Ever since the first set, we have watched a number of beautiful games, both of which had to look for something special in order to overcome their opponent’s defense.
At 2-2, we saw the first more tied game in which the Austrian aggression came to fruition. World No. 1 went wrong at 30-30, but the next two points never made it to the playoffs and the leader in the standings managed to save himself.
At 3-4, Tim played a nightmare pass, in which he started with two unanswered calls and failed to record a point. Leaning against the wall, the finalist for Roland Garros showed fantastic tennis, saved a set-up and managed to squeeze the Matador into the return game, rebounding after a series of winning shots.
Rafa led 2-0 in the tiebreaker, but later his opponent was in the lead. The team grabbed every ball and attacked from every position, with the Spaniard unable to keep up with his pace and retreating 7-3 points.
The second part was almost identical. At 2-2 we saw a drop in the Austrian’s performance and after two double errors he was punched to 0. And this time he found his way back into the set, recording 3-4 winners at 3-4 and quickly leading by 40-0. Nadal neutralized one danger, but the second also made a double mistake – 4-4.
The pace of the game was extremely high and the Austrian continued to dominate the games. He led 4-0 in the tiebreaker, but the driver in the scheme did not give in easily and found a way to even out, aided by two uninvited opponents. At 4-5, Rafa had the lead in the next game, but decided to take the risk and end it with a short play – something Tim was ready for, reached the ball and finished. Dominic finished with a welcome win – 7-6 (3) 7-6 (4), leaving only a set of success.
Nadal’s latest 0-2 setback came only in 2007 in Wimbledon’s third round match against Michael Southern. Although he was far behind in the match, the Spaniard found his game.
In the third part, Nadal abstracts himself from the rival’s superiority in his own innings and bets on a solid opening shot in his service games. He raised the efficiency and shortened the scoring. Tim, for his part, played even more liberally, showing that he felt comfortable on the net, his speed was not slowing down, and he often controlled the games from the bottom of the court when there was service available.
That changed from 4-5, when the Austrian had to trade strikes three times after a second initial strike, and finally made a mistake in the backhand, netting the world No.1 6-4.
In his first pass in the fourth inning, Tim made two unforced errors, then did not make a good selection of shots, dropped a short ball, and Nadal finished with a will to reach two consecutive breakballs. The Austrian’s good services got him out in the first place, but his new inaccuracy gave Rafa a third chance. However, the opening shot again proved to be a true companion of the world No.5 and he leveled it at 1-1.
Thus, the service game of the champion of 2009 fluctuated. The deep strikes of World No. 5 again proved to be a problem for him, he made several mistakes and fell behind with a break and 1-2.
At 2-4, World No. 1 was in a very difficult situation, but his services helped him overcome a 0-30 liability and not allow his opponent to serve to win at this stage. The fifth placed continued to accumulate finishing shots and made his 15th in this set – the forehand of the line to reach a 5-3 lead.
The nerves overtook the Austrian as he set about winning at 5-4. He made a double mistake and trailed by 15-30. After playing a second starting shot, he then made a mistake in the net and Nadal got two consecutive chances to return to the match. Tim escaped at first danger, but then he was too aggressive, his forehand flew out, and the 2009 champion remained 5-5.
World No. 1 completed the backhand and forehand, scoring two good starters to take the initiative himself and force Teams to serve the remainder. The fifth in the world pulled out the game at 30 and the third long game in the game came.
There, the Austrian took control in the first game and with a forehand winner on the right achieved a mini breakthrough. However, he was immediately returned after a mistaken attempt on a short ball by Dominic. It was Rafa’s deep rebound and Teem’s backhand error that led to a 2-1 draw for the Spaniard. However, the turns did not end and the fifth put the lead 4-2 after spending the opponent all over the court.
Although losing balance and falling, the Austrian won the next point after an inaccurate backhand of World No.1. Rafa melted his liabilities to 4-5 after winning a game from the bottom of the court, but Tim guaranteed himself two games at 6-4 after excellent diagonal service. The tension again proved too great for the Austrian, as his greater forehand aggression again led him to error.
In the second team of the team, the Spaniard stopped the game, after the deep ball of the fifth in the world was judged as good. However, the world No.1 had shown good judgment – it was inches out and Rafa leveled 6-6.
The net helped Dominic to gain a point in the losing position – a passing backhand hit the court and gave Tim a third chance to close the match. He played a second serve and caused Rafa’s error to triumph.