Nadal one win away from record 21st Grand Slam

Spanish stalwart Rafael Nadal was on the verge of Grand Slam history on Friday, making it to the Australian Open final by defeating Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at Melbourne Park here.

The 35-year-old, who captured his 500th hardcourt win of career, is just one match win away from clinching his singles Grand Slam title No. 21, which will make him the greatest major champion in history.

Nadal, who won his last and only Australian Open title in 2009, is currently tied with Swiss ace Roger Federer and Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic on 20 Grand Slams each.

After his four-set win over the 25-year-old Berrettini, an emotional Nadal reflected on his journey to yet another Grand Slam final after struggling with a foot injury for the second half of the 2021 season.

"A month and a half ago I didn't know if I would be able to play tennis," the Spaniard was quoted as saying by after the win. "So it doesn't matter, I just wanted to enjoy it and try my best."

Nadal had beaten Berrettini in straight sets in the 2019 US Open semifinals, their only previous meeting. The Spaniard