Five of the best men’s matches at the Australian Open featuring Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Rafael Nadal, and more

Tennis Features
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal shaking hands

The men’s singles event at the Australian Open ended in its usual fashion this season, with Novak Djokovic claiming an incredible ninth title at the tournament.

The Serbian comfortably beat Daniil Medvedev in what was a rather underwhelming final, though prior to that there had been several great matches throughout the event.

Oli Jefford takes a look at five of the best matches in the men’s singles at the Australian Open this year.

First round: Denis Shapovalov def Jannik Sinner, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4

The opening day of the tournament saw an entertaining contest between two of the brightest talents on the ATP Tour.

After losing the opening set 11th seed Shapovalov impressed in both the second and third sets to take a two set to one lead, though Sinner rallied from a break down in the fourth set to force a decider.

A nail-biting decider ensued and it was the Canadian who prevailed, holding his nerve when serving for the match to seal victory and fend off the Italian’s resilient challenge.

Second round: Stefanos Tsitsipas def Thanasi Kokkinakis, 6-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-7, 6-4

This was one of the more entertaining contests of the tournament and proved just how much of an asset a fit and healthy Kokkinakis can be to the ATP Tour.

In front of his home crowd the wildcard took the first set and rallied impressively to force a decider against Tsitsipas, who had been looking imperious on serve.

The fifth seed eventually needed just one break in the decider to claim victory in well over four hours, though this match showed both can play incredible tennis in big matches.

Second Round: Marton Fucsovics def Stan Wawrinka, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6

This match provided perhaps the most dramatic finish of any match at this year’s tournament, with Fucsovics saving three match points to beat the 2014 champion.

The Hungarian looked as he was cruising to victory as he led by two sets, though 17th seed Wawrinka used all his experience to rally and force a decider.

Up 9-6 in the final set tiebreak it looked as though the Swiss would pull off the comeback, though Fucsovics won the final five points to secure an incredible victory and reach the third round.

Second round: Nick Kyrgios def Ugo Humbert, 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4

Kyrgios has been involved in many dramatic matches at his home major, and 2021 proved no exception as he battled from the brink of defeat to beat Humbert.

Humbert, the 29th seed, had largely nullified the threat the Australian posed throughout the match and had two match points when serving for the contest at 5-4 in the fourth set.

However, the Australian rallied, superbly saving both match points before forcing a decider and needing just one break in the decider to claim victory in front of a loud home crowd on the John Cain Arena

Quarter-final: Stefanos Tsitsipas def Rafael Nadal, 3-6, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-5

Tsitsipas made no secret of his desire to beat Nadal at a Grand Slam in 2021 ahead of the tournament, but that did not look likely as he fell two sets down to the Spaniard in their quarter-final contest.

However, with Nadal perhaps getting a little tight, the Greek was impressively able to raise his level and two strong sets saw him force a decider on the Rod Laver Arena.

Pressure was on the fifth seed as he served to stay in the match at 4-5, though he was able to hold before breaking Nadal and then coming through a tight service game to seal one of the biggest wins of his career.

Follow Oli Jefford on Twitter @odicksonjefford.

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