Nadal sets up semi-final clash with Federer
Rafael Nadal yesterday set up a mouth-watering Australian Open semi-final with long-time rival Roger Federer, who celebrated his 1,000th match in style by demolishing Juan Martin del Potro.Rafael Nadal yesterday set up a mouth-watering Australian Open semi-final with long-time rival Roger Federer, who celebrated his 1,000th match in style by demolishing Juan Martin del Potro.
Spanish second seed Nadal was forced to dig deep to beat Tomas Berdych, battling back from a set down on Rod Laver Arena to beat Berdych 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-3 in 4hr 16min.
In sharp contrast, Swiss maestro Federer, chasing his fifth title in Melbourne, barely broke sweat as he dismantled his Argentine opponent 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in a rematch of the 2009 US Open final won by del Potro.
It means Federer and Nadal will clash in Melbourne again tomorrow, three years after the Spaniard, who leads their head-to-heads 17-9, reduced the Swiss to tears with a five-set win in 2009's epic Australian Open final.
Nadal described the 2009 final against Federer as "unforgettable" after he survived the longest match in Australian Open history in the semi-finals, against Fernando Verdasco, and then went the distance again versus the Swiss. "Seriously, that final is one of the memories that will always be in my mind," he said.