Despite having back issues, Rafael Nadal has reached the fourth round at the Australian Open 2021 without dropping a set. He defeated British player Cameron Norrie 5-7, 2-6, 5-7 recently and registered his 30th consecutive set win in Grand Slams. It is the best run in his career to date.
Interestingly, this has brought him only six sets away from equaling the Swiss maestro’s record of 36. Roger Federer had accomplished the feat between the US Open 2006 and French Open 2007.
Also, the American tennis legend John McEnroe stands in between the 20-time Grand Slam champions at 35. The 34-year-old Spaniard needs two straight wins and a set to break his long withstanding record.
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Rafael Nadal will face fearless Fabio Fognini in the next round
At the start of the 2021 season, the Spaniard withdrew himself from the ATP Cup because of his back. However, considering his performances in the first three matches, he looks in great shape and form.
But the only big concern is that Rafa has not been challenged yet in the Australian Open 2021. In fact, all his three previous opponents were out of the Top 50 players.
Comparatively, the 16th seed of the tournament, Italy’s Fabio Fognini is playing at his best in the tournament so far. He will be the ultimate challenge in front of Rafa to break Federer’s record.
In addition to that, Fognini also has the experience of beating the 13-time French Open champion on clay. Also, the Italian has defeated Rafa even from two sets down at the US Open 2015.
Having said all, Nadal still has a 12 against 4 advantage over the 33-year-old Italian. But winning the match in three straight sets will require a formidable performance from the Mallorcan.
They will play on Monday at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Park. The winner will next meet the winner between World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsitpas and World No. 10 Matteo Berrettini.
Read More: All-Time Records That Rafael Nadal Can Break in 2021
Nadal’s chances for the 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open
Presently, Rafa has great momentum in the tournament and is definitely one of the favorites in every tournament he plays. However, he has equally great challenges set from him up ahead.
If he gets himself comfortable on the quicker courts of Australia, then it will be hard to deny him the title. Nadal has won the Australian Open once in 2009 and has said that he would love to win again.
Can Rafa break not one but two of Federer’s record at the Australian Open?
Also Read: What Advantage Novak Djokovic Has Over Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open 2021