Federer and Nadal set up dream Australian Open 2017 final

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Federer vs Nadal

The most famous rivalry in tennis will once more take centre stage in a grand slam final. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play each other in a slam final for the first time since 2011 and will also be a rematch of the 2009 Australian Open final, which Nadal won in five.

Check out the Federer vs Nadal AO 2017 Final preview and prediction.

Federer’s Route

Having not played a competitive match since Wimbledon last year, Federer was clearly rusty to begin with and it showed as he needed four sets to defeat Jurgen Melzer. His straight sets win over Noah Rubin was expected but it was clear that Federer was capable of launching a challenge for the title with the way he took apart Tomas Berdych in straight sets, stopping the Czech from even getting a single break point. Kei Nishikori has an excellent record in 5th sets but Federer managed to inflict a rare loss on the Japanese star, taking it 6-3 in the third to move into the quarter finals.

A quarter final with Andy Murray was anticipated but Mischa Zverev had other ideas, playing the match of his life to thwart those plans. Zverev could not repeat his performance against Federer and was swept aside with ease by the Swiss 6-1 7-5 6-2. It was a five set classic between two Swiss men in the semi finals but it looked like the match would be over quick when Federer stormed into a 2 set lead. Wawrinka reeled off the next two to take it to a decider and it looked like he had momentum. Aided by the delay from his medical timeout, Federer managed to stop the bleeding and would only need one break point to get the all important break. Wawrinka double faulted down 15-40 and that would be it with Federer taking the match 7-5 6-3 1-6 4-6 6-3.

Nadal’s Route

Nadal’s run began with straight forward wins over Marcos Baghdatis and Florian Mayer before being taken to the brink by Alexander Zverev in a five set thriller. Nadal lost a third set tiebreak to go 2-1 down but bounced back, aided by a cramping opponent to take it in five 4-6 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2. He needed four sets to make it past Gael Monfils to book a quarter final with Milos Raonic. Having beaten Nadal in Brisbane earlier in the month, Raonic would have been confident of his chances but he was outplayed for large parts in a straight sets loss. Raonic double faulted in the second set tiebreak set point up which could have changed the match completely but ended up losing it to eventually go down in three.

His semi final was a good precursor to the main event with Federer but few would have expected Dimitrov to push Nadal as close as he did, with the Spaniard taking it 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 6-4. Down 3-4 *15-40 in the decider, Nadal came up with four stunning points to hold before breaking in the next game. The Spaniard never knows when he is beaten and the nature of the comeback from such a precarious position reminded everyone why he is one of the toughest in the game.

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