January 24, 2014
Rafa Nadal Takes Down Federer On His Way To The Australian Open Final
Rafa Nadal cruised past a weary Roger Federer, despite having to deal with a painful, raw blister on his left hand.
In doing so the dynamic Spaniard gave himself the chance to draw level with the legendary Pete Sampras by winning his 14th Grand Slam tournament.
Sampras was in the Melbourne crowd and must have wished the match had lasted longer, though Federer did at least force Nadal to a first-set tie-break.
But it was a one-sided contest from that point on and Rafa ran out a comfortable 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 winner.
If Federer is ever to win another major, he must surely target Wimbledon now, because grass represents the 32-year-old’s best chance.
Too Much Talk About The Blister!
A gracious Nadal said afterwards: ‘To play with Roger is a very special feeling. He is a really great champion.’
‘The first set was tough, we played really tough rallies but I resisted very well. Tonight I played the best match of my tournament.’
Rafa was reluctant to talk about that nagging wound on his hand and declared: ‘Too much talk about the blister! It’s OK.’
But he knows he will face a much sterner test from Swiss number one Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday’s final.
Nadal added: ‘Wawrinka will come with big confidence. His serve is huge and he is very strong, so I’ll try to play aggressively.’
It should be a bruising final and a delight for the fans.
As for the chance to draw level with “Pistol Pete” Sampras, Nadal said: ‘I never thought about 13 Grand Slams never mind 14!’
Federer Bows Out
It was a sad end to an otherwise-impressive Australian Open for Federer.
He had already rolled back the years, he had beaten Andy Murray and he had almost looked the player of old at times.
But all those matches eventually took their toll against Nadal, who has won their last five match-ups.
Now Federer must make Wimbledon 2014 his big target. On grass he has a better chance of bringing back the glory years. And it will be our good fortune to watch him mount that challenge.
Want to watch Federer make one last bid for Wimbledon glory this summer? Or see the amazing Nadal bounce back from last year’s shock early exit? Just click on the following link to book your place up close and personal with the greatest tennis players of all time.