Matteo Berrettini overcame Gael Monfils in a five-set thriller to reach his first Australian Open semi-final.
Monfils came back from a two-set deficit, but Berrettini came back to beat Rod Laver 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2 and go to the semi-finals against Rafael Nadal. In a previous five-setter, the Spaniard had defeated Denis Shapovalov.
Berrettini is the first Italian to reach the final four of the Grand Slam in Melbourne. Berrettini appeared to be on his way to a routine victory when he took a 2-0 lead after surviving an incredible game that lasted nearly 20 minutes before holding for a 2-2 tie in the second set.
Monfils had three break points throughout the game, ten deuces, and several breathtaking rallies that drove the spectators to their feet. Berrettini won the first set with a service winner and then dominated the second set, breaking for a 4-3 lead and serving it out to love.
But the 35-year-old Monfils, who was cheered on by the crowd, refused to give up. In the third set, the Frenchman survived three break points before holding for 2-1, then broke for a 4-2 lead when Berrettini double-faulted for the first time in the match.
In the fourth set, he broke for a 3-2 lead and then scored his fifth set point in the tenth game to tie the match.
Berrettini fought back, breaking twice in the fifth set to take a 4-0 lead, and Monfils had no chance this time. When Monfils missed a forehand, the Italian converted his third match point.
Berrettini is searching for his first major win after losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last year.