World Number 1 Rafael Nadal came one step closer to his 16th Grand Slam title as he overpowered a robust Juan Martin Del Porto to set up a final clash against Kevin Anderson. Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai's doubles run ended in the semis as they were shown the door by Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan.
With top players like Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and Stan Wawrinka all pulling out of the tournament, Rafael Nadal knew that he would have a less challenging opponent in the final if he managed to reach the last round. And his thunderous 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 win over Juan Martin Del Potro in the semi-final on Saturday has guaranteed it.
Nadal will face South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the final game, who has never reached beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam prior to this and who will become the first South African to achieve a major title since Johan Kriek in 1981 if he manages an upset.
Despite beating the mercurial Roger Federer in a convincing manner last round, Del Potro hadn’t come into the semis as the favourite. Though it was a fortunate net cord that handed him the opener as he took the first set, it was a complete Nadal show after that.
The Spaniard broke Del Potro thrice in the second set to blank him 6-0, winning 91% of his 1 serve points and finishing the set in just 28 minutes. Del Potro did pose some challenge in the third set but his 11 unforced errors and failure to capitalize on service games took away the game from him.
Nadal had already got the momentum and this gave him the conviction. Though the Argentine cut down his unforced errors to eight in the fourth, Nadal’s serves were unplayable by then. The Spaniard looked flawless, winning 93% of his 1 service points this time and wrapping up the game in 32 minutes.
Indian ace Sania Mirza, who had a terrific run in the women’s doubles event with Chinese partner Peng Shuai, was shown the door by Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. It was a close game in the first set that saw the Taiwan-Swiss pair win a crucial 9th game before serving it out for 6-4.
Mirza and Peng came back stronger in the second set with some brilliant net play and cross court winners but were no match for Hingis and Chan. Hingis and Chan will now face the Czech pair of Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova in the final.