No. 1 Rafael Nadal’s quest to become the first man in the Open Era to win all four majors at least twice continues as he withstood an early challenge from No. 6 Roger Federer to win 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
It was the 33rd meeting between the two best players in the men’s game over the last 10 years, and as Rod Laver and Pete Sampras sat in the crowd, Nadal showed once again why his now 23-10 record against Federer is no fluke.
He will face the new Swiss No. 1 Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday’s final.
Federer came into the match riding a wave of confidence after two big wins over No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 4 Andy Murray.
Armed with a new racket and new coach Stefan Edberg by his side, the whispers around Melbourne Park were that Federer was primed to finally snap his four match losing streak to Nadal and beat his rival on outdoor hard court for just the third time in their careers.
Nadal snuffed out that belief quickly. Federer didn’t see a break point on Nadal’s serve until the third set and his hyper-aggressive start to the match subsided quickly in the face of Nadal’s impenetrable defense.