Australian Open 2017: Nadal Outlasts Dmitrov To Set Up Final Date With Federer
14-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal beat Bulgarian powerhouse Grigor Dmitrov in a five-set heavyweight clash at the Rod Laver Arena to book a place in the final of Australian Open 2017.
Rafael Nadal reacts after beating Grigor Dmitrov in the semi-final of Australian Open 2017. (Getty Images)
Melbourne: 14-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal beat Bulgarian powerhouse Grigor Dmitrov in a five-set heavyweight clash at the Rod Laver Arena to book a place in the final of the Australian Open 2017.
Nadal beat Dmitrov 6-3, 5-7, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in a match that lasted over four hours to set up a mouth-watering clash with long-time rival Roger Federer in the final of the competition on Sunday.
"Very very special for both me and Roger Federer to reach the finals of a major again," said Nadal after outlasting Dmitrov in 4 hours and 49 minutes.
"It's exciting for me and for both of us that we are still there and we still fighting for important events. So that's important for us, I think.
He added: "I hope to be ready to compete well again. I need to go back to the hotel, to rest well, and to recover from now."
Nadal drew first blood in the match as he broke Dmitrov's serve twice to take the first set 6-3 in just 35 minutes.
However, in the second set Dmitrov raced to a 4-1 lead after few uncharacteristic unforced backhand errors by Nadal. But the Spaniard clawed back into the game to make it 5-5.
Dmitrov held onto his serve to take the second set 7-5.
Nadal took the third set 7-6 and Dmitrov hit back to win the fourth 7-6 to force the match into the decider.
In the end Nadal's experience at the big stage mattered as he broke Dmitrov's serve at 4-4 to serve for the match.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2017
The former world number 1 held onto his serve and closed the set at 6-4 to progress into the final of season's first grand slam. Nadal had last played in the final in Melbourne in 2014, when he had surprisingly lost out to Stanislas Wawrinka.
If Nadal goes on to beat Federer on Sunday, he will surpass Pete Sampras' tally of 14 grand slams and will become the second most successful player in the history of the sport behind Federer.
Nadal is also gunning to 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.
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