MELBOURNE, January 27, 2017
Rafael Nadal has set up a dream final at the 2017 Australian Open against Roger Federer on Sunday. The 30-year-old Spaniard battled past Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 5-7, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena on Friday night.
Nadal withstood 20 aces, hitting nine of his own and won 69 per cent of his first service points. The World No. 9 converted five of his 13 break point chances to prevail in just under five hours of play. Nadal advanced to his first Grand Slam final since winning the French Open in 2014, his fourth in Melbourne.
“It was a great quality of tennis tonight. We both played great. So just for me, it is amazing to be through to a final of Grand Slam again here in Australia. It means a lot to me. I feel the love of the people here. They give me a lot of positive energy,” the 2009 Australian Open champion told.
“I just feel very happy to be part of this match. In the fifth set, I told myself, that I am giving my best, I am playing very well. If I lose, that’s it. Grigor deserves it, too. I think both of us deserved to be in that final. It was a great fight. Finally it was me. I feel lucky. I am very happy for that.”
Nadal is bidding to win his second Australian Open title and could become the first man in the Open Era – and only the third man in history – to win each of the four Grand Slam titles twice, joining Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.
It will be the 35th meeting between two of the all-time greats with the Spaniard leading 23-11 in head-to-head records. The last encounter took place in Basel in 2015 with Federer winning in three sets.
Asked on this very special rivalry Nadal told: “It is amazing for me and I think for tennis, too. It is the combination of two different styles that makes the matches really special. It is a different way to play tennis. Both of us, I think, had a lot of success with these two different styles. It is good that we are back there.”
- Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova clinch their fourth women’s doubles Grand Slam title in nine, edging Andrea Hlavackova and Peng Shuai in three sets
- Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig will meet Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal in the mixed doubles final
Rafael Nadal reaches his 21st Grand Slam final and his fourth in Melbourne with an exhilarating five-set win over Grigor Dimitrov