MELBOURNE, Australia – Only the trophy and the tears were missing from this latest Grand Slam installment of Rafa vs. Roger.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were on opposite sides of the net Thursday, meeting in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
And Nadal was the winner again – for the eighth time in their 10 Grand Slam matchups.
The Spaniard won 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-4, covering the baseline with incredible speed and hitting forehand winners from almost impossible angles.
He applauded as Federer started to leave the stadium, then ran back onto the court, dropping onto his haunches and pumping his arms in triumph. All that, three days before the final.
Defending champion and No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic will take on Andy Murray today for a spot against Nadal in Sunday’s final.
Last time the pair met in Australia, Nadal won the 2009 final in five sets.
He had to console Federer as he sobbed during the trophy presentation.