Nadal passes tough Dimitrov test to reach Australian semis

With his hand bandaged, world number one battles through in four sets

Nadal during the match against Dimitrov.
Nadal during the match against Dimitrov.GREG WOOD (AFP)

Rafa Nadal overcame a stern test set by Grigor Dimitrov to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

After dropping the first set, the world number one battled through to beat the Bulgarian 22nd seed 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2.

With his left hand bandaged due to a blister, the Mallorcan star had to face down three set points to claim the third set from Dimitrov, who was playing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The 27-year-old Spaniard will now play Roger Federer, who beat Andy Murray later on Wednesday, for a place in the final.

“The bandages on my hand affected me, especially on the service, when I have to grip the racket tightly,” the 13-times Grand Slam winner admitted.

Nadal served seven double faults, with the speed of his serve averaging 168km/h, sometimes dipping as low as 137, during the match.

“The blister is a lot better, but I need to play with protection so it doesn’t get worse,” he said.

A visibly upset Dimitrov, 22, admitted he was disappointed not to have done better. “It’s tough losing that match, my first quarterfinal,” he said. “I came out expecting nothing less than to win.”

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