Australian Open 2014: Roger Federer slips to Swiss number two following semi-final defeat to Rafael Nadal

The Spaniard won despite a large blister causing him pain throughout and will now play the new Swiss number one Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday's final

Rafael Nadal maintained his dominance over Roger Federer to set up an Australian Open final against Stanislas Wawrinka.

World number one Nadal proved too strong for his great rival, as he had on 22 of the previous 32 occasions they had played, and was a comfortable 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 6-3 winner.

Nadal's victory ended hopes of an all-Swiss final, and the Spaniard will be a huge favourite to defeat Wawrinka on Sunday given Federer's countryman has never won a set in any of their 12 matches.

Friday's result also ensured Wawrinka will overtake Federer in the rankings on Monday to become Swiss number one for the first time.

Nadal will play in his second Australian Open final, having beaten Federer to win the title in 2009.

Victory on Sunday would take him level on 14 grand slam titles with Pete Sampras, who will present the trophy and on Friday watched Nadal play Federer live for the first time.

Federer's 17 slams is the all-time men's record Nadal could then aim for.

Nadal said of facing Federer: "We've played a lot of times for important things in our career. He's a great champion and it's an honour to be in the same era as him. I think I played my best match of the tournament so I'm very happy for that."

The stats were all in Nadal's favour, especially the one that showed Federer had not beaten the Spaniard at a grand slam since the Wimbledon final in 2007.

But there is always a special excitement around their matches, and there were reasons to think maybe this time it might be different.

World number one Nadal had been struggling with a blister on the palm of his left hand that affected his serve and was far from his best against Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.

Federer pictured during his semi-final defeat to Nadal Federer pictured during his semi-final defeat to Nadal  

Federer, meanwhile, had looked back to something like top form in wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray.

Free from back pain, with a larger-headed racquet and boyhood idol Stefan Edberg as coach in his corner, Federer was dreaming of an all-Swiss final.

The first set was extremely tight, both men aware how important early momentum could be.

Nadal was the one pushing, but Federer came up with solid play when he needed it, saving two break points in the seventh game and another in the ninth.

The Swiss, surely influenced by Edberg, had come to the net incredibly often against Murray, and he was sticking to the tactic despite Nadal's extraordinary ability to hit passing shots.

If he was to have any chance, the tie-break appeared a must-win for Federer, but he made errors at crucial moments to trail 5-1, and although he won the next three points, he could not fully recover.

As he has on so many occasions, Nadal was trapping Federer in his backhand corner with vicious top-spin that the 32-year-old has always seemed powerless to counter.

Federer betrayed his frustration by complaining to umpire Jake Garner about Nadal's grunting, which received short shrift.

 

Nadal had no visible strapping on his blister but he took a medical time-out after the first game of the second set to have it treated.

Federer continued to resist the onslaught by saving three more break points in the fourth game, but two games later he dropped the ball too short and saw a forehand go whizzing past him as Nadal finally took his eighth chance.

There was a half-opening for Federer at 0-30 when Nadal served for the set but the Spaniard played four excellent points, including a sublime forehand down the line.

The only time Nadal had ever lost a match from two sets up came in their second meeting in Miami in 2005, when Nadal was 18 years old.

There seemed virtually no chance of a repeat, and even less so when a disgruntled Federer netted a volley to drop serve early in the third set.

Federer was given a lifeline when Nadal promptly dropped serve himself - the first time he had offered up break points in the match - but he moved ahead again for 4-3.

And two games later Nadal clinched victory on his second match point when a desperate Federer forehand flew long.

PA

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam