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Beyond the Baseline

Photos: Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer in Australian Open semifinals

It's quite cool outside in Melbourne, but of course Rafael Nadal is dripping sweat. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) Rafael Nadal puts in the effort to beat Roger Federer. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Rafael Nadal turned a marquee match into a routine victory on Friday, defeating Roger Federer 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Inconveniently for Federer, it was the best match of the tournament from the top seed, who silenced doubts about the status of his blistered hand and his uneven form through the first five rounds to rout his longtime rival in two hours and 24 minutes.

"I don't expect him to be worse off just because of a blister or worse off because he's having an up-and-down sort of performance at this event," Federer said after the loss. "When he usually comes in against me, he always plays solid, if not great. So I think it was one of those nights again, which I knew was going to be tough."

Nadal moved to 23-10 lifetime against Federer and scored his sixth consecutive victory in Grand Slam meetings. He'll face Federer's Swiss countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday's final.

Here are some of our favorite photos from Friday's semifinal:

Rafael Nadal

Nadal faced only two break points, both in the third set. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Roger Federer

Much was made of the power that Federer was getting on his backhand with his new racket, but he hit just two winners off that wing. (Paul Crock/AFP/Getty Images)


Roger Federer

Still as graceful as ever.


Rafael Nadal

Is Nadal even adjusting the position of the ball kids now? This obsession is officially out of control. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)


Rafael Nadal

A blistered hand didn't prevent Nadal from protecting his serve with ease. He won 73 percent of both his first- and second-serve points. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)


Roger Federer

Federer found himself on the run far too much for his liking. (Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)


Rafael Nadal

He probably hit that for a winner. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)


Roger Federer tosses his towel to the outstretched hands of a ball kid. (Rick Rycroft/AP)

By the third set, one couldn't blame Federer if he were ready to throw in the towel. (Rick Rycroft/AP)


(William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Maybe he should go with an even bigger racket. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Roger Federer

Federer made his 11th consecutive Australian Open semifinal but fell short of his fifth title in Melbourne. (Aaron Favila/AP)

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