It's Federer vs Nadal in Australian Open finals

In all Grand Slam matches, Nadal is up 9-2, and at the Rod Laver Arena, he has won all three of their meetings in progressively fewer sets - five in 2009, four in 2012, three in 2014. Nadal holds the ledger over Federer, 23 wins to the Swiss ace's 11, winning all three times they've met in Australia.

A resilient Federer delighted the crowd in a tough third set as he clawed his way back into the match, but he squandered break point opportunities on Nadal's opening serve in the fourth and from there the tide swiftly turned.

Dimitrov bravely saved two match points as Nadal served out for the match before the Spaniard clinched victory, sinking to his knees in relief and jubilation.

When Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal missed large chunks of last season through injury, the prospect of their rivalry, perhaps the greatest the sport has seen, having another airing on such a stage appeared a remote possibility. "I think this match is completely different than what happened before", Nadal said.

"I'm in the finals, I know that", Federer said.

For all their joy at reaching another Grand Slam final after serious injury problems - knee for Federer and wrist for Nadal - the importance of the match to both men can not be underestimated. Roger gets a full two days to recover, which I'm sure he'll cherish as the oldest man in a Grand Slam final since Ken Rosewall in 1974. An injured Milos Raonic held six set points but failed to convert on any, Nadal coming through in straight sets to set up a Semi-Final with Grigor Dimitrov.

Federer was watching on with relish as his rival in Sunday's final was taken the distance in a draining physical battle.

"I just know that two of the greatest players of tennis are going to square off, and it's going to be (an) incredible match", the Bulgarian said. But it was his deft touch at the net that sealed the deal, a rare foray forward saw the 30-year-old slice an angled victor to take the first set 6-3.

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In the run-up to the French Open, Federer had finally managed to finish on the winning side against Nadal on clay.

"Grigor played great. I played great".

"It's special to play Roger again in the final of a grand slam, I can not lie", Nadal added.

Federer opened things up in the second securing an early break which prompted Wawrinka to break his racquet on his leg.

Thirty-year-old Nadal, who was pushed all the way in a five-set match against German teenager Alex Zverev in the third round, disagreed that it was getting easier for the old guard at the grand slams. The talented Bulgarian is recovering from an extended form slump, seeded 15th at Melbourne Park, and into his first major semi-final in nearly three years.

"That's very special", Nadal told Jim Courier during the post-match interview. When you feel that you are playing very well and you have to go from Roland Garros without going on court, I remember myself crying in the vehicle coming back to the hotel.

The rivalry began at the Miami Masters in 2004, when a 17-year-old Nadal beat Federer, then the world number one, 6-3 6-3. He said: "I don't know who's going to win, but I just want to sit back, relax, hope it goes five sets, and enjoy it like a fan".


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