Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the men's singles quarter-final match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov on day nine of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. Photo: AFP
Rafa Nadal has drawn within two wins of a record 21st Grand Slam title, claiming a five-set thriller against Denis Shapovalov to grind into the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.
On a steamy afternoon at Rod Laver Arena, the warrior Spaniard suffered a huge scare as Shapovalov roared back from two sets down before bowing out 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 after four taxing hours.
After dropping the fourth set, Nadal marshalled his resources off court with a medical time-out then returned to break Shapovalov in the second game to wrest back the momentum.
Channelling the experience of 20 Grand Slam titles, Nadal kept the Canadian at arm's length then sealed one of his great wins when Shapovalov pushed a volley wide and ended up smashing his racket into the court in anguish.
Nadal will meet the winner of Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils for a place in the final.