Catch the highlights of the Australian Open semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at Melbourne Park.
17.02 (IST): So, Nadal eases past a resurgent Federer to enter another Australian Open final where Stanislas Wawrinka awaits him, having beaten defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarters and Tomas Berdych in the semis. The chance of an all-Swiss final goes begging but can the high-flying Swiss get the better of Nadal and claim his first Grand Slam victory? Or will Nadal continue his form and win his 14th major to go on par with Pete Sampras?
17.00 (IST): FACTOID: Rafael Nadal's dominance over Roger Federer continued as he has now claimed as many as 23 wins over his Swiss compatriot, more than any other opponent.
16.59 (IST): Nadal: Wawrinka is playing very well and he will come to the final with a lot of confidence after beating Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych. I will continue to play with my aggressive style.
16.59 (IST): Nadal: Playing with Roger is always a very special feeling. I'd like to thank the fans here.
16.53 (IST): Rafael Nadal: "I never thought I would have 14 (Grand Slam titles) and for sure I am going to try my hardest to win on Sunday."
16:47 (IST): Top seed Rafael Nadal beats sixth seed Roger Federer 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 to set up final with Stanislas Wawrinka.
16:43 (IST): Federer serving to stay in the match at 3-5 in the third set. He is up 30-15. (6-7, 3-6, 3-5)
16:36 (IST): Nadal takes a break advantage again in the third set. Leads 4-3. (7-6, 6-3, 4-3)
16:33 (IST): Federer serving at 3-3. Nadal gets a lucky point off the net cord. (15-15)
16:25 (IST): Federer gets a break back in the third set. He is coming back into this match. (6-7, 3-6, 2-2)
16:20 (IST): Nadal now leads 2-1 with a break of serve and by two sets to one. (7-6, 6-3, 2-1)
16:16 (IST): Federer is the only player to beat Nadal from a two-set deficit. He did so at the 2005 Miami Masters final.(2-6 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-1)
16:09 (IST): Second set again goes the way of Nadal. He wins 6-3 after a backhand error from Federer. Nadal leads 2-0. (7-6, 6-3) Match duration: 1 hour and 48 minutes. Second set duration: 48 minutes.
16:06 (IST): Nadal serving for the second set at 5-3. He is down 0-30.
16:00 (IST): It's looking like a one-sided affair now. Federer will serve to stay in the second set at 2-5. (6-7, 2-5)
15:56 (IST): Federer loses early break of serve in the second set. Trails 2-4. (6-7, 2-4)
15:46 (IST): Federer holds serve after being down 0-30. It's 2-2 in the second set. (6-7, 2-2)
15:40 (IST): Rafael Nadal fights pain and holds serve to love in the third game of the second set. Leads 2-1. (7-6, 2-1)
15:32 (IST): Rafael Nadal holds serve to win the opening game of the second set and then takes a medical time out to receive treatment for his hand blister. Leads 1-0.
15:21 (IST): Rafael Nadal wins the first set 7-6 (4) after exactly an hour of breathtaking tennis.
15:13 (IST): We are now officially into a tiebreak situation in this opening set. Nadal gets the first point in this best of seven. (6-6)
15:08 (IST): We are heading into a tiebreak in the opening set of this semifinal match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Nadal serving at 5-6. Longest rally of the match. 33 strokes. (15-0)
15:04 (IST): Roger Federer serving at 5-5. (30-0)
14:58 (IST): Roger Federer fights off deuce to hold serve. He forces Nadal to serve to stay in the opening set at 4-5.
14:53 (IST): Signs of a great match in this game from both Nadal and Federer. Nadal holds serve to make it 4-4.
14:48 (IST): Federer saves two break points and holds serve to lead 4-3. The match is slowly taking shape.
14:43 (IST): Federer holds serve to love in the fifth game of the opening set. Nadal follows with a love hold of his own, the second in this set. It's 3-3.
14:37 (IST): Federer makes early inroads in the match. Holds serve in the third game and then takes Nadal to deuce at 2-1. It's still on serve though at 2-2.
14:27 (IST): Federer holds serve in the first game of the opening set after losing just one point. Nadal follows with a confident hold to love. It's 1-1.
14:20 (IST): "The rivalry between Nadal & Federer is one for the ages. Roger is playing well and he has got his confidence back," Pete Sampras on the match.
14:08 (IST): Federer believes new coach Stefan Edberg can help him end a seven-year losing Grand Slam run against Nadal.
14:03 (IST): While Federer and Nadal get ready to play their semifinal, Wawrinka must be waiting to see who he faces in the final, watching with a tub of popcorn. (Read more about the Swiss No.2)
13:50 (IST): Ten minutes to go for players to take their positions at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne in this mouth-watering semifinal clash.
12:57 (IST): Nadal has admitted that serving with a blister in the palm of his left hand is giving him trouble during games. He also said this could give Roger Federer an edge in this crucial match.
12:45 (IST): In the two meetings between these players at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal has won both. (2009 final and 2012 semifinal)
12:16 (IST): The epic 2008 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, where the Spaniard won in five sets (6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7), inspired sports author Jon Wertheim to write a book titled 'Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal and the Greatest Match Ever Played.' With Federer's current form and the arrival of a lucky charm in the form of coach Stefan Edberg, can today be another great match between these two masters of the game?
A rejuvenated Roger Federer may get his best chance to end his Grand Slam torment against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open with the top seed plagued by a blister on his hand.
The Swiss all-time Grand Slam champion has not beaten Nadal in five Slam encounters since his 2007 Wimbledon final triumph, in a period of dominance by the Spanish world number one.
But a combination of Federer's resurgence under Swedish mentor Stefan Edberg, and Nadal's blister-induced weakened serve, has thrown open the outcome of Friday's blockbuster semi-final.
Nadal was clearly discomfited by the ugly blister in the palm of his serving hand as he spluttered with seven double-faults, two on break points, in his battling four-set win over Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion, 27, complained that a lack of confidence in his weakened serve made him vulnerable against the rising Bulgarian star.
"I served slower. I served bad," said Nadal, who is on a 10-match winning run. "I felt my biggest problem was the serve because serving like this gives me a problem with everything else," he added.
"When you lose confidence with one important shot like the serve, then you are not able to play the rest of the shots with confidence."
"So I'm going to try to improve that, because I'll need it in the semi-final if I'm going to have the chance to be in the final."
With the defeat of three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic on the other side of the men's draw, and Federer's four-set defeat of triple runner-up Andy Murray, only the Swiss great now stands in the way of a third Australian Open final appearance for Nadal.
Former world number one Federer, now ranked sixth, is trying to prolong his fabulous career and show he is still capable of winning an 18th Grand Slam title, with his last coming at Wimbledon 2012.
The 32-year-old Swiss maestro last month hired six-time Grand Slam champion Stefan Edberg in an advisory coaching role, and said he is feeling good again about his tennis.
"It's an amazing result for me again to be in the semis. This one feels different because of the tougher times I've had in (last year's) Slams, Wimbledon, at the US Open," Federer said. (Read more)
Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer head to head:
Nadal leads Federer 22-10
World Tour Finals - Nadal won 7-5, 6-3
Cincinnati Masters - Nadal won 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Rome Masters - Nadal won 6-1, 6-3
Indian Wells Masters - Nadal won 6-4, 6-2
Indian Wells Masters - Federer won 6-3, 6-4
Australian Open - Nadal won 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
World Tour Finals - Federer won 6-3, 6-0
French Open - Nadal won 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 6-1
Madrid Masters - Nadal won 5-7, 6-1, 6-3
Miami Masters - Nadal won 6-3, 6-2
World Tour Finals - Federer won 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Madrid Masters - Nadal won 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
Madrid Masters - Federer won 6-4, 6-4
Australian Open - Nadal won 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-2
Wimbledon - Nadal won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (8/10), 9-7
French Open - Nadal won 6-1, 6-3, 6-0
Hamburg Masters - Nadal won 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3
Monte Carlo Masters - Nadal won 7-5, 7-5
Tennis Masters Cup - Federer won 6-4, 6-1
Wimbledon - Federer won 7-6 (9/7), 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-2
French Open - Nadal won 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Hamburg Masters - Federer won 2-6, 6-2, 6-0
Monte Carlo Masters - Nadal won 6-4, 6-4
Tennis Masters Cup - Federer won 6-4, 7-5
Wimbledon - Federer won 6-0, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (2/7), 6-3
French Open - Nadal won 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Rome Masters - Nadal won 6-7 (0/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Monte Carlo Masters - Nadal won 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Dubai - Nadal won 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
French Open - Nadal won 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Miami Masters - Federer won 2-6, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-1
Miami Masters - Nadal won 6-3, 6-3
Rafael Nadal (Spain, top seed) road to the semis:
Round 1 - beat Bernard Tomic (Australia) 6-4, retired
Round 2 - beat Thanasi Kokkinakis (Australia) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
Round 3 - beat Gael Monfils (France, 25th seed) 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
Round 4 - beat Kei Nishikori (Japan, 16th seed) 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3)
Quarter-finals - beat Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria, 22nd seed) 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (9/7), 6-2.
Roger Federer (Switzerland, sixth seed) road to the semis:
Round 1 - beat James Duckworth (Australia) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Round 2 - beat Blaz Kavcic (Slovenia) 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)
Round 3 - beat Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia) 6-2, 6-2, 6-3
Round 4 - beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France, 10th seed) 6-3, 7-5, 6-4
Quarter-finals - beat Andy Murray (Great Britain, 4th seed) 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3
Roger Federer finds a higher level as other stars fail:
All week at the Upset Open, the favorites have fallen as if engaged in a game of superstar dominoes. Serena Williams toppled first. Then Maria Sharapova. Then Novak Djokovic. Then Victoria Azarenka.
The trend continued Wednesday night, albeit with a twist. The latest lower seed to undo a top-five player was not really an underdog, but rather Roger Federer, perhaps the greatest player in tennis history.
Federer, seeded sixth, arrived at the Australian Open with a new coach, Stefan Edberg, and a larger racket frame, and, for five matches now, he has continued to turn back the clock. His 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 destruction of the fourth-seeded Andy Murray in Wednesday's quarterfinal was vintage Federer, circa 2004 or 2006 or 2009: a blend of sliced backhands and risks taken and hair flopped, with notes of confidence and hints of movement best described as silky or refined.
Speaking of good old days now here again, Federer's latest victory produced yet another meeting with his longtime rival Rafael Nadal. On Friday, they will play for the 33rd time, their first match at a Grand Slam event since the semifinals here in 2012.
Once it would be a given that they would arrive here, pitted against each other deep into a Grand Slam event. But this time so many dots needed to be connected. The draw needed to align with them in the same half. Federer needed to adjust to the new coach and the new racket and overcome doubts about whether he could still compete for major tournament titles. Nadal needed to knock off two opponents while playing with a cherry-red blister taking up much of his left palm. (Read more)
(Player head-to-head, road to the semis courtesy AFP)
Story first published on: Friday, 24 January 2014 02:56 IST