Rafael Nadal will take on Canada’s Denis Shapovalov this afternoon, bit it won’t be the first time they have met on the court.
Ash Barty’s pursuit of a maiden Australian Open title continues on Tuesday evening with a quarter-finals clash with American Jessica Pegula.
The world No. 1 will enter Rod Laver Arena at 7pm local time, with Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal and the Special K’s also competing in Melbourne Park on day 9.
On Monday, Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas qualified for the men’s singles quarter-finals after a thrilling five-set epic against American Taylor Fritz.
Cute Rafa photo emerges
Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal will take on Canada’s Denis Shapovalov this afternoon on Rod Laver Arena, with the winner set to qualify for the Australian Open semi-finals.
But this will not be the pair’s first encounter on the tennis court, with a photo of Nadal and Shapovalov from 2008 emerging on social media.
Nadal is chasing a record 21st grand slam singles title, and with no Roger Federer or Novak Djokovioc in Melbourne Park, he’s a strong chance of doing so.
The 35-year-old and Shapovalov will face off at 2pm local time.
“I’m definitely expecting a long battle out there,” Shapovalov said this week.
“Obviously, he makes you play a lot. His defence is very good. He’s very good at what he does, so I’m going to have to try to play my game, take it to him and keep doing what I have been doing — playing patient, fighting for every point, and just picking my spots to play aggressively.”
Day 9 schedule
Rod Laver Arena
From 11am – S. Groth/P. Rafter vs W. Ferreira/M. Philippoussis
Not before 12.30pm B. Krejcikova  vs M. Keys
Not before 2pm – D. Shapovalov  vs R. Nadal 
From 7pm – A. Barty  vs J. Pegula 
G. Monfils  vs M. Berrettini 
From 11am – D. Alcott  vs A. Lapthorne
Not before 3.30pm – T. Kokkinakis/N. Kyrgios vs T. Puetz/M. Venus 
Alcott claims opening set
Seven-time Australian Open champion Dylan Alcott has won the opening set of his semi-final against Britain’s Andy Lapthorne.
Alcott was below his best on Kia Arena, with a handful of unforced errors gifting crucial points to his opponent.
But the 31-year-old held his nerve, securing a break and clinching the first set 6-3.
Aus Open favourite’s ‘extraordinary admission’
No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev has some regrets after Monday’s outburst at the Australian Open that included him yelling about how “boring” his match was.
In his fourth-round contest against American Maxime Cressy, Medvedev had multiple spats with the chair umpire, believing the amount of time Cressy was taking between points to be excessive and against the rules.
“For who are the rules?” Medvedev asked the chair umpire.
“I freaking cannot go pee, and you’re going to wait seven seconds (for Cressy to serve) and then don’t say anything. The rules are for who?”
At one point in the fourth set, Medvedev yelled, “This is so boring!”
The Russian ultimately won the match in four sets 6-2 7-6 6-7 7-5.
After the match, Medvedev admitted he was playing mind games with Cressy to try and throw him off his routine, and expressed some remorse for his actions.
“During the match, I got a little bit crazy,” he said. “I even went a little bit … to talk something in the air, but getting to his mind a little bit … and maybe he’ll miss some shots. I’m not happy with what I said today.”
Speaking on The Tennis Podcast, BBC commentator David Law called Medvedev’s post-match remarks an “extraordinary admission”.
Medvedev is slated to play Canadian Felix Auger in the Australian Open quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Day 9 preview
Ashleigh Barty and Barbora Krejcikova can stay on course for a high-class semi-final collision, while Rafael Nadal looks to continue his march to a record 21st grand slam title as the Australian Open hits the quarter-final stage on Tuesday.
Home hope and world No. 1 one Barty thrilled the crowd by defeating the giant-killing Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round and faces another American, Jessica Pegula, in the night session on Rod Laver Arena.
French Open champion Krejcikova swept past two-time Melbourne champion Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-2 to set up a last-eight meeting with unseeded American Madison Keys.
Barty, the 2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon champion, looks in irresistible form as she chases her first Australian Open crown.
The 25-year-old comfortably dispatched the 20-year-old Anisimova, who had already accounted for defending champion Naomi Osaka and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Belinda Bencic.
Top seed Barty, who is aiming to become Australia’s first women’s champion on home soil in 44 years, warned she will not make it easy for Pegula.
“I try to adapt my game as best as I can to try and make my opponent uncomfortable,” said Barty. “And that will be no different when Jess and I play.”
Pegula, who revealed last week she had been relaxing with nights at the casino, was a surprise winner over fifth seed Maria Sakkari of Greece.
“That was definitely my best match of the year,” declared the 27-year-old Pegula after reaching the last eight for the second successive year.
French Open champion Krejcikova will open the day on Rod Laver Arena against Keys, who raced past Spain’s eighth seed Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-1.
Keys, who won the Adelaide warm-up event, beat 2020 champion Sofia Kenin in the first round and has 10 match wins in 2022, just one short of her total for the whole of 2021.
A semi-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2015 but unseeded this year, Keys puts her revival down to a fresh perspective after struggling previously with Covid-enforced bubble life on tour.
“I don’t really thrive when my entire life becomes about tennis,” she said.
– with AFP