Nadal outclasses Federer to reach Australian Open final

World's number one player will face Stanislas Wawrinka in the final

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning his semifinal match against Roger Federer.
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning his semifinal match against Roger Federer.Clive Brunskill (Getty Images)

World number one Rafael Nadal cruised into the final of the Australian Open with a straight-sets victory over Roger Federer, and will be firm favorite to pick up his 14th grand slam trophy against surprise finalist Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland on Sunday.

The Spaniard continued his dominance over the 17-time Grand Slam winner, comfortably beating Federer 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-3 in the Rod Laver Arena on a breezy night.

“I played well,” Nadal said. “I played probably my best match of the tournament, so I’m very, very, very happy that I played my best match in the semifinal against Roger.”

The Spaniard suffered no ill effects from the blister he is suffering on his dominant left hand. “The blister is good,” Nadal said. “It looks better every day. We are doing the right things. The blister today is not a problem anymore for normal life. It’s not painful. The problem is playing tennis”

Federer was frustrated throughout the match by the 27-year-old Spaniard’s nagging consistency and was disconcerted further when Nadal left the court between sets to change the bandage on his hand. “We made the tape a little bit smaller,” Nadal explained. “That helped me. I don’t know how many times I can change the tape during the match, because to change the tape I need the trainer.”

Federer, 32, came into the semifinal buoyed by some dominant serve-and-volley tennis under the watchful eye of his new trainer Stefan Edberg, disposing easily of Frenchman Wilfred Tsonga in the last 16 and Andy Murray in the quarterfinal. But Nadal has always had the edge over his great Swiss rival, emerging victorious in 23 of the 33 times they have faced each other. Federer has not beaten the Spaniard in a Grand Slam event since the Wimbledon final in 2007.

“I think Rafa did a good job of keeping the pressure on me,” Federer said. “I might have gotten a little tired, maybe in the third set, but overall I’m very happy.

“Rafa played well and he played solid, so I don’t have crazy regrets tonight other than maybe not having created more opportunities for myself. Rafa was his usual self, what I kind of expected.”

Wawrinka will be playing in his first Grand Slam final on Sunday, but on the 12 previous occasions when he has faced Nadal, he has failed to take a set off him. “I never thought about having 14 [slams], the only thing I can swear is that I’m going to try my best,” the Spaniard said of his prospects.

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