Australian Open: Rafa Nadal beats Roger Federer to make Melbourne final
Roger Federer's resurgence ended as old foe Rafa Nadal won their Australian Open semi-final in clinical fashion.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 24/01/14 6:41pm
Nadal overcame a huge blister on his left hand to dispatch Federer 7-6 6-3 6-3 in two hours and 24 minutes to book his place in Sunday's final, where he will face another Swiss in Stanislas Wawrinka.
Federer had looked right back to his best during the tournament but despite holding his own in the first set he was always on the back foot as he had to face 14 break points while managing to force just two of his own.
Nadal broke four times in the match, three of them in the third set as Federer faded, with the final one confirming his place in the final and his 23rd win over Federer in their 33 meetings.
The world No 1 takes a comforting 12-0 record against Wawrinka into the final, as he looks to become just the third man to win all four Grand Slams at least twice each.
It was a tough first set between the two giants of the game, with 30 Grand Slam titles between them, and even the surface favoured Nadal with eight wins from 14 meetings on hard courts under his belt.
Nadal fashioned the first two break points of the match in the opening set, but Federer fended them off to force a tie-breaker, but it was comfortably won in the end 7-4 by the Spaniard after just under an hour.
Nadal was getting closer with a break only saved by Federer in the third game of the second set after a challenge showed a crosscourt forehand had just clipped the line.
It was just a temporary reprieve though as Nadal kept on knocking at the door and finally broke at the eighth time of asking to lead 4-2 before going on to take the set.
Nadal needed treatment to the huge blister in the palm of his left hand, but it didn't seem to cause him too many problems as his hard hitting groundstrokes often proved too big for Federer to handle.
An early break in the third looked to signal the end, but Federer showed his fighting spirit as he broke right back after forcing his first two long-awaited break points of the match - after over two hours on court.
Federer did not get a sniff of a break point again though, while Nadal grabbed a second break and then held to force Federer to serve to stay in the match at 3-5 down.
He went ahead, but Nadal came back and, despite saving one match point with a huge serve, Federer could not keep Nadal at bay any longer and his third break of the set sent him into Sunday's final.
Nadal will be a huge favourite against Wawrinka, who is making his first grand slam final appearance on Sunday, while Nadal is looking for a 14th major title that would move him level with Peter Sampras in second behind only Federer.