MELBOURNE: Alexander Zverev is seen as one of the players capable of breaking the stranglehold of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the Major tournaments.
But he must first get past Stan Wawrinka, who is incredibly the only man other than the three greats to win the Melbourne Park title since 2006.
Wawrinka upset the traditional order in 2014 when be beat Nadal and went on to win two more Grand Slams -- the French Open in 2015 and US Open a year later -- before knee surgery in 2017 halted his march.
Now ranked 15, he said after upsetting fourth seed Daniil Medvedev to set up the Zverev clash that he was playing his best tennis since the surgery, with the passion to win another Slam still burning bright at 34.
"I've been feeling great on the court, on the practice court, putting a lot of work in physically and tennis-wise," said Wawrinka, who will have to overturn a 0-2 record against the seventh seed.
"Zverev, he's been in the top 10, top five since few years now. It's going to be a difficult match, for sure."
Zverev, who has huge potential but has yet to go beyond the quarter-finals in 18 Grand Slams, knows he has his work cut out against one of the toughest and most experienced competitors around.
"He showed why he's a Grand Slam champion, beating Medvedev, coming back from two-sets-to-one down, playing great tennis. He's still one of the toughest players to play, especially here in Australia," said the 22-year-old.