Rafael Nadal vs. Matteo Berrettini 2022 Australian Open Semifinal Prediction
Rafael Nadal is just two wins away from winning his 21st Grand Slam title. If he does it, he’ll leave behind his two arch-rivals, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (both with 20 titles).
The problem for the 35-year-old Spaniard is that winning the 2022 Australian Open is much easier said than done. In fact, he’ll have to work real hard even to get to the final. To get there, he will have to defeat Matteo Berrettini in the semifinal.
Online tennis sportsbooks do think he’s going to win, but the Nadal vs. Berrettini sure has the potential to turn into a grueling battle.
Rafael Nadal vs. Matteo Berrettini Betting Odds
Nadal has 20 major titles in his cupboard. Berrettini who’s 10 years his junior, has none. This fact is probably the main reason why bookmakers see the Spanish player as the favorite in the semifinal match.
Another reason might be that the two have met only once so far and it was Nadal who got an easy win. It happened in 2019 in the semifinal of the US Open, when we saw Nadal win in straight sets, then go on to win the title (beating Daniil Medvedev).
The odds on Nadal in that match were as short as 1.06 at some sportsbooks. However, Berrettini has come a long way since. In 2019, the Italian was sitting in the #13 place in the ATP Rankings. Today, he’s in seventh place, just two spots behind Nadal.
Nadal vs. Berrettini Preview
Both players booked their semifinal tickets after exhausting matches in the previous leg. It took 4:08 hours for Nadal to defeat Denis Shapovalov. Despite obviously struggling with fitness (and tummy ache), he managed to stop the 22-year-old Canadian from making a comeback after being 2-0 down.
Literally the same story happened in Berrettini’s match with Gael Monfils. After a 2-0 lead, Berrettini’s focus dropped, and he allowed the Frenchman to tie 2-2. Then, in the fifth set, Berrettini came back to his best, winning 6-2 in games. It took him 3:49 hours to defeat his opponent and become the first-ever Italian player to reach the final four of the Australian Open.
Both Nadal and Berrettini were visibly exhausted after the quarterfinals, but the good news for them is that they’re going to have plenty of time to rest. The thing is that the semifinal is played on Friday afternoon local time.
Nadal’s Bid for 21st Grand Slam Title
After an injury-plagued campaign last year, Nadal is ready to commence his resurrection. In 2021, we saw him win just two tournaments – ATP Rome and ATP Barcelona – both played on clay, his favorite court surface.
Nadal was expected to win another clay tournament, the 2021 French Open, but he ended up losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal. Everyone thought that he would rebound quickly, but Nadal decided to skip the next two big tennis events – the Wimbledon and the Olympics.
It was later revealed that the reason was a foot injury. Fast-forward to January 2022 and it seems his injury problems are over, although endurance seems to have become a problem for the 35-year-old.
For instance, we saw him taking his time to serve against Shapovalov in the quarterfinal. For his opponent, that was way too much time. In fact, Shapovalov even accused the umpire of being “corrupt” for allowing Nadal to take over 45 seconds to serve.
In the same match, Nadal was apparently having stomach issues, which have also taken a toll on his fitness. The good news for the Spanish superstar is that he’s going to have plenty of time to rest. The semifinal match with Berrettini comes three days after the Shapovalov clash.
Even if that wasn’t the case, Nadal would have no problems finding the strength to push through. After all, there’s so much at stake for him. If he wins the 2022 Australian Open, he will make a strong claim on the GOAT status. By doing that, he’d become the only player in the history of tennis to have 21 major titles in his possession.
No Djokovic, No Problems for Berrettini
The next obstacle in Nadal’s quest for the 21st Grand Slam title is a player who keeps on impressing. Over the last couple of years, Berrettini’s game has improved significantly, especially when it comes to majors.
The Italian player has won each of his previous 21 matches at Grand Slams, excluding those against Novak Djokovic, who’s not taking part in the 2022 Australian Open after getting his Australian visa canceled.
Matteo Berrettini is 21-0 in his last 21 Grand Slam matches against opponents other than Novak Djokovic— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) January 25, 2022
What’s got to worry Berrettini is that on his Grand Slam journey, he didn’t win a single match against a Top 10 opponent. Actually, this guy usually doesn’t do well against players from near the summit of the ATP Rankings.
During his seven years’ long professional career, Berrettini has played 23 matches against opponents who were in the ATP Top 10 at the time. He won just seven of those, which accounts for a 30.4% win percentage.
Further, Berrettini is without a win against a Top 10 opponent at a Grand Slam tournament.
Nadal vs. Berrettini Betting Prediction
Rafael Nadal to Win-188
For Nadal, winning the Australian Open means getting a chance to settle the GOAT debate in his favor. He’s not getting any younger, so winning as many titles in 2022 surely must be on his agenda.
Berrettini is far from an ideal opponent for him, but Nadal has the skills, experience, and motivation to win this match.
If you share my opinion, why not bet on Nadal winning the semifinal? You could do it at MyBookie.ag, which is giving -188 on the Spaniard to win.
If you think he’s going to struggle, maybe betting on “over 4.5 sets” would be a better option. The odds on the match seeing a total of five sets are +214.