If you’d told tennis fans a week ago that Nadal and Djokovic would be facing off in the quarterfinals, however, they’d have been skeptical. If you’d then told them Nadal would emerge victorious in just four sets, they might not have believed you at all. Since entering the competition, Nadal’s every move has been heavily scrutinized thanks to the unpredictability of his play given his injuries.
And for many, Nadal’s victory over Djokovic was all the more significant given the latter player’s refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For his part, Nadal expressed his disappointment in Djokovic’s medical stance ahead of the Australian Open, saying diplomatically that “[Djokovic] made his own decisions, and everybody is free to make their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.”
Nadal may still have a tough road ahead, however, as he prepares to play the German Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. But conquering Djokovic should serve as a feather in his crown either way.
On the subject of Zverev, the Spanish tennis prodigy Carlos Alcaraz—who was predicted by many to take his preternatural abilities on clay all the way up to the final—was beaten by the German player earlier today, in a surprise victory that put predictions that Alcaraz could be a Roland Garros powerhouse to rest (for the time being, anyway).