Rafael Nadal might have been troubled with injuries last year, but the Spaniard seems to be enjoying his game in the Australian Open. The former world number one has a chance to reach the finals of the Australian Open with Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov being the major hurdle. The two players are set for a huge semifinals encounter at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.
Besides his round of 32 clash against Alexander Zverev, Nadal has not been taken to five sets by any of his opponent, though the Spaniard has played against quality opponents such as Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils. Such record in this Australian Open will give him immense confidence to come up with another great performance against Dimitrov.
After his straight games win over Raonic in the quarters, Nadal was excited to reach the semis of the competition.
"Great. (Reaching semifinals) is a good news. Especially winning against difficult players: Monfils quarterfinals, Zverev round of 16, and now Raonic. I think all of them are top players. So that's very important for me because that means that I am competitive and playing well, no?," Australian Open official website quoted Nadal as saying.
"So just excited about being back in final rounds of the most important events. You know, I am here to try to make this, no? Is always difficult, but I fought and I worked hard to try to make that happen."
The Spaniard is favourite to reach the final, especially if one looks at the quality performances he has come up with. Not only his results, his game has been brilliant. Nadal has looked fit, running around the baseline and making those incredible returns and playing those ground strokes winners.
However, Dimitrov, who has lost seven times in his last encounters, will try to use his last match against Nadal as an inspiration. The two players meet last year in China, and Dimitrov defeated Nadal in straight games.
Dimitrov has not met top players en route to the Australian Open, but one should not take anything away from the Bulgarian, who has looked brilliant so far. He has hardly been troubled by any of the players in the competition. Nadal is going to be his biggest test.
This Australian Open has already been special for Dimitrov, as it is has been his joint-best performance in any grand slam so far. He had reached the semifinals of Wimbledon 2014 too. The 15th seed will be looking to play in his first grand slam final, and he has the ingredient to match Nadal and defeat him to ensure his date with Roger Federer in the final.
But, tennis fans around the world may want Nadal to reach the final as the old rivalry between the Spaniard and Federer will be a treat to cherish for sports lover. Will Dimitrov spoil the party for Nadal?
Where to Watch Live
Nadal vs Dimitrov Australian Open semifinals contest is set to begin at 7:30 pm local time (2 pm IST, 8:30 am GMT, 3:30 am ET). Below are the TV and live streaming information.
UK: TV: EuroSport. Live Streaming: EuroSport Player.
Australia: TV: Channel 7. Live Streaming: 7 Live.
USA: TV: ESPN 3. Live Streaming: Watch ESPN.