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.


Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world