'Touching distance': Rafa Nadal on verge of tennis history after win

Rafa Nadal (pictured) celebrating after reaching his sixth Australian Open final.
Rafa Nadal (pictured) has made his sixth Australian Open final and is one win away from his 21st grand slam title. (Getty Images)

Rafa Nadal has defeated Matteo Berrettini to reach the Australian Open final and put him one win away from reaching a historic 21st grand slam title.

Nadal came out of the blocks firing and targeted Berrettini's backhand from the very first game.

INTERESTING: Barty opponent in Aus Open final dating son of AFL legend

'DEPRESSING': Nick Kyrgios snaps at reporter's question

The Spaniard raced to a 6-3, 6-2 lead in the opening two sets and looked to be destined to finish the match quickly.

However, a strange move from Nadal to sit deeper on Berrettini's serve backfired and the Italian started to dominate and take it to a fourth set.

Nadal struggled to make any inroads on Berrettini's serve until the 8th game when Nadal broke.

The Spaniard showed his brutal aggression to close the match out 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and reach his sixth Australian Open final.

Rafa Nadal on the verge of tennis history

While Nadal boasts 20 major titles, the Australian Open hasn't always been kind - after defeating Federer in the 2009 final he's lost four championship deciders (2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019).

He said another title won't decide his happiness - that was already assured by just being able to play again following last year's foot injury that threatened his career.

Commentator Jim Courier asked him what it meant to be playing for a 21st grand slam, but Nadal said the Australian Open title was the only record he was seeking.

"For me it's all about the Australian Open more than anything else, no?" he said.

"It's just an amazing event. I've been unlucky with injuries and other times I play amazing finals with good chances."

"But I never thought about another chance in 2022."

The win registered his 500th victory on hard courts during his career.

Nadal will either play Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2022 Australian Open final.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.