Rafael Nadal outlasted Roger Federer 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in an Australian Open semifinal Thursday night, the longtime rivals playing with the intensity normally displayed when meeting in a Grand Slam final.
The stars who met in eight Grand Slam finals were on the same side of the draw for the first time at a major since 2005.
Two weeks ago, Nadal injured his right knee and wasn’t sure he’d be able to start the tournament. Now, he can barely believe he’s in the final.
“If you tell me that two Sundays ago, I really cannot imagine,” Nadal said. “For me, it’s a dream to be back in a final of the Australian Open.”
Nadal will have the opportunity Sunday night to win another championship, when the Spanish left-hander plays the winner of the semifinal Friday between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.