Federer-Nadal: Australian Open final so good, it can't be believed
Jan 30 2017 by Dustin Murphy
Rafa Nadal had to be at his battling best to outlast Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 5-7 7-6 (5) 6-7 (4) 6-4 at the Australian Open on Friday and set up a mouth-watering ninth grand slam final meeting with his great rival Roger Federer.
Nadal, 30, reaches his first major final since the 2014 French Open after seeing off Dimitrov in an absorbing five sets, sealing a 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 at the Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal's fetching power and his whipping ground strokes, that only flared up intermittently, ensured the match ebbed and flowed as the pair shared the sets, but Federer's 6-1 taking of the third sent out a grim message of intent to the Spanish team up in the players' box. They made it look so easy, Federer's way of playing and Nadal's way of being, it's just so natural they're going to win.
WHAT an epic game it was between two greats of tennis - Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - at the final of this year's Australian Open.
Moments after becoming the oldest Grand Slam champion in 45 years with a breathtaking victory over Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer dropped a hint about his future.
During his victory speech, Federer acknowledged he was glad to have played against his toughest rival, Nadal.
Despite losing this match, Nadal has had an exceptional full month in Australia, providing a platform for the year ahead, especially the French Open on clay.
"For sure, Rafa deserves pretty much all the credit right now since he's such a fighter, such a competitor".
He swiftly moved into a 4-1 lead and started finding his range with the serve, which set up a mouth-watering decider.
"I was already prepared in the last couple of majors and I have to say".
The two legends didn't disappoint, Federer surviving endless ebbs and flows - including a medical time-out for treatment on a leg injury before the deciding set - and then a 2-0 deficit to prevail on his second championship point after three hours and 38 tension-filled minutes.
Nadal, who has also returned from injury this month after a wrist problem, had won six of his previous eight Grand Slam finals against Federer, who had beaten him only in the Wimbledon finals of 2006 and 2007.
"The magnitude of this match is going to feel different", he said.
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"I feel very happy to be part of this match".
They have now met 35 times since their first game in 2004 and Nadal holds a 23-12 lead over Federer. Sachin tweeted, "Without any doubt one of the biggest matches in tennis history".
According to Odds Checker, Nadal is now a 4/5 favourite to win and capture his 15th Grand Slam title. "Without him, I think maybe I wouldn't be here tonight".
Two of the greatest champions of all time going head to head and serving up something truly spectacular is something to cherish and watch over and over again.