Nadal beats Federer in Australian Open semifinal: Rafael Nadal continued his dominant streak against Roger Federer, beating him 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3 on Friday night to reach the Australian Open final against No. 8-seeded Stan Wawrinka.
It was Nadal’s 23rd win in 33 matches against Federer, and sets up a chance to win his 14th Grand Slam title and to become the first man to win all four majors at least twice in the Open era.
Nadal missed last year’s Australian Open during his seven-month layoff for illness and a knee injury, but returned to win 10 titles this season, including the French and U.S. Opens, finishing the year ranked No. 1.
He won the Australian Open in 2009, and lost the final in 2012 to Novak Djokovic. It is the only Grand Slam tournament he hasn’t won at least twice.
“It’s really, really emotional for me to be back on this court, Rod Laver Arena, and to be able to play another final,” said Nadal. “I think tonight I played the best match of the tournament. I go on court (against Federer) knowing that is a really tough match and if I am not playing my best, I will not have the chance to win.”
The 32-year-old Federer is confident of winning more majors, even after a 2013 slump in which he didn’t reach any of the major finals for the first time in 11 years.
“I still think my best tennis is only ahead of me now,” said Federer, who reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the 11th consecutive year.
In his last two matches, Nadal has been struggling with a blister on the palm of his left hand.
“Too much talk about the blister. The blister is OK,” said Nadal during his on-court interview. “The problem … is the position of the blister, it’s difficult.” But he didn’t feel any pain, he said.
Nadal resisted everything Federer threw at him, scrambling to keep balls in play that normally would be winners.
Federer’s 50 unforced errors doubled the number of Nadal’s.
The left-handed Nadal hit 13 of his 28 winners with his powerful forehand, attacking Federer’s one-handed backhand.
“I tried a few things … then again, Rafa does a good job of neutralizing you,” said Federer. “So I guess at times I couldn’t quite do what I wanted to do, but that’s because of Rafa.”
Wawrinka defeated Tomas Berdych on Thursday night to reach Sunday’s championship match.