Rafa Nadal's brutal response to Alexander Zverev meltdown at Aus Open

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Rafa Nadal, pictured here saying he wasn't surprised to see Alexander Zverev crash out of the Australian Open.
Rafa Nadal said he wasn't surprised to see Alexander Zverev crash out of the Australian Open. Image: Getty/Australian Open

Rafa Nadal rubbed some salt into Alexander Zverev's wounds when he said he was "not surprised" that the World No.3 had crashed out of the Australian Open on Sunday.

Nadal and Zverev appeared destined for a blockbuster clash in the Australian Open quarter-finals, however Zverev suffered a brutal straight-sets loss to Denis Shapovalov on Sunday.

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Nadal continued his impressive form in Melbourne with a 7-6 (16-14) 6-2 6-2 victory over France's Adrian Mannarino.

Zverev and Shapovalov were still in action when Nadal's match finished, and the Spanish great wasn't surprised to hear that the Canadian was in the lead.

"Denis Shapovalov is a player with a lot of potential. When he is on, it's hard to stop him," Nadal said.

And speaking in his post-match press conference, Nadal appeared to stick the boot into Zverev somewhat after he crashed out 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

"Not [surprised] that much," Nadal said about Zverev's loss.

"I mean, he was a bit favourite probably because of his ranking, but was not a clear favourite.

"Everybody knows, as I said before, how good is Denis when he's playing well. So of course you didn't expect a three-sets victory, but that's what happened.

"I didn't see the match, of course, but that said, Denis played a great game. I don't know if Sascha played well or not, but even considering Sascha was not playing fantastic today, to win in straight sets against Sascha is because he played a fantastic match, no?

"Surprise? Very little. Honestly, no, it was not a clear match at all."

Alexander Zverev, pictured here destroying his racquet as he crashed out of the Australian Open against Denis Shapovalov.
Alexander Zverev destroyed his racquet as he crashed out of the Australian Open against Denis Shapovalov. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images)

Shapovalov sets up clash with Nadal at Aus Open

Shapovalov admitted he even stunned himself as he swept aside World No.3 Zverev to set up a blockbuster showdown with Nadal.

The 22-year-old has reached the last eight at a grand slam for a third time, less than a month after a positive Covid-19 test on arrival in Australia threw his preparation into disarray.

Shapovalov recovered to help Canada lift the ATP Cup title in Sydney, laying the groundwork for what has developed into a seven-match winning streak.

The Wimbledon semi-finalist and Open 14th seed is now revelling in his deepest run at Melbourne Park.

"I started to feel back to normal towards the end of that week (in Sydney), so it was a good sign, then coming here I had a couple of aches and wasn't feeling 100 per cent physically," Shapovalov said.

"I wasn't practising that much, to be honest, and just trying to prepare the body as best as possible.

"I'm just really happy with where I am in terms of my game, in terms of the level, right now."

Nadal had to overcome a crazy 28-minute tiebreaker in the first set to take down Mannarino.

"Everybody knows how mental is this game - it's a tough one," a relieved Nadal said.

"That crazy first set, I think, was so important and the beginning of the second.

"He had been playing some fantastic tennis during the whole tournament, winning against amazing players like (Aslan) Karatsev and (Hubert) Hurkacz.

"Today the first set was super difficult, his ball was very difficult to control, very flat, very fast and I am very happy that I survived that first set without a doubt."

with AAP

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