Bruising, powerful and simply unstoppable, Rafael Nadal proved too strong for a resurgent at Roger Federer to make the final of the Australian Open on Friday morning.
The Spaniard was at his very best, hitting winners and giving nothing away in a match that was left unbalanced the moment he won the first set. Once ahead, Nadal was never going to throw it away.
For Federer it feel like another Grand Slam chance missed. The Wimbledon title of 2012 is looking ever likely to be his last. Given his recent fall in form, the semis can be deemed a respectable achievement though after beating Andy Murray earlier this week.
He could have done no better. The penultimate shot of the match, where Nadal curved it around Federer from an impossible position, summed it all up. He was just up against a superior player on the day.
Nadal will now move the man who Stanislas Wawrinka meets on Sunday. The Spaniard will know victory this weekend will not only draw him level with Pete Sampras’ total of 14 Grand Slams, but will bring him to within three of Federer's incredible record haul of 17.
Triumph on Sunday will also mean he joins Rod Laver in being just the second male to win all four Slams twice.
The record of 17 is in sight. Aged just 27, time is on his side. The day Rafael Nadal dethrones Roger Federer is approaching.
The remaining triumphs could be done on the clay courts of Paris alone. It is a court where, barring the defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009, he never loses. He will be looking to win an eighth French Open title when the tournament commences in May.
London could also be witness to another Nadal masterclass. Since 2010, where he won his second Wimbledon crown, Novak Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray have all won the trophy. Nadal will surely believe his time at SW19 will come again.
Wawrinka will resist, but in this form the world’s best player is untouchable.
He could create a record that will stand for all of time.
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