The Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal will try to qualify in the early hours of this Tuesday (not before 4:00) for the semifinals of the Australian Open, the first ‘Grand Slam’ of the season, for which he must defeat the thriving Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

The Balearic is two games away from playing a ‘big’ final again, something he hasn’t done in Melbourne since 2019, but first he must pass the exam that the 22-year-old North American is going to present to him, who arrives launched after his great victory on the German Alexander Zverev and that he will play a quarter round in a ‘Grand Slam’ for the third time in his career after doing so in the 2020 United States Open and in the past Wimbledon, where he reached the semifinals.

The 2009 champion has collided with the ‘wall’ of the penultimate round in his last two participations, in 2020 against the Austrian Dominic Thiem and in 2021 against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, and he hopes that his competitive progression since his return to the tracks After six months of absence, it serves to counteract a rival, left-handed like him, who already knows what it is to beat him, the first time they met in 2017 on the hard court of the Masters 1,000 in Montreal when he was an ‘unknown’ , and that predicts complications due to his good form that he also showed in the ATP Cup that he won together with Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Shapovalov, fourteenth seeded, has just signed a great match against a favorite like Zverev, which he got rid of in three sets, supported by his powerful ‘drive’, the weapon, along with the serve, which a Nadal must control that even the moment has been solid and that it only offered some loophole against the Russian Karen Kachanov, the only one who has snatched a set from him, and the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who complicated things in an eternal ‘tie break’.

The American, for his part, has lost four sets and had to sweat in his second round against the South Korean Soonwo Kwon, whom he had to defeat in five sets. In addition, he will have to counteract with his illusion the greater experience of the Spaniard, who aspires to his thirty-sixth semifinal in a ‘Grand Slam’ and for whom the daytime conditions favor him despite the heat.