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Beyond the Baseline

Highlights from Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer Australian Open semifinal

Another episode in the Roger Federer - Rafael Nadal rivalry has come to a close. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images) Another episode in the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry has come to a close. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3 in the Australian Open semifinals on Friday, extending his head-to-head lead over his longtime rival to 23-10. Nadal will face No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday's final with a shot to become the first man in the Open Era to win all four Slams at least twice.

Here are highlights, statistics, reaction and more from Nadal's victory:

Highlights

Match point:


Federer goes big. Nadal goes bigger:


Nadal's ridiculous defense:


Nadal speaks to the press after the match:


Federer speaks to the press after the match:


More match highlights:


Photo of the match

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

Go figure

1: Sets Federer has won from Nadal in their last 12 sets.

2: Times Nadal has beaten Federer in straight sets at a Slam, the first time being the 2008 French Open final.

6: Consecutive Grand Slam tournaments in which Federer has not made a final, the longest drought since he reached his first major final, in 2003.

8: Federer's new ranking on Monday if Nadal wins the final.

11: Match winning streak for Nadal to start the season.

2006: The last time a player has won an Australian Open lead-up tournament and gone on to win the first major of the year. Nadal won the Qatar Open in early January.

2007: The last time Federer defeated Nadal in a Slam, at Wimbledon. They have played six times since.

4,757: Days Federer has held the position as the Swiss No. 1. That ends on Monday when Wawrinka overtakes him in the rankings.

What they said

Nadal on whether he noticed different tactics from Federer: "I think he tried to play very aggressive, taking the ball very early. But if you go to YouTube and you see the video of the 2012 match [between Nadal and Federer in the semifinals of the Australian Open], you will see that he was playing very, very aggressive, too. Especially the beginning of the match. So it's nothing completely new.

"But the important thing for me is to serve well, resist the beginning. I know he will try to go on court going for the winners, taking the ball very early. So when the match is coming and the match is longer, then that's more difficult. Because physically it is very difficult for me, for him, for everybody to play with that intensity of trying to play that aggressive during a few hours. So when the match is going on, I know that I will have the chance to hit a little bit more rallies. That's the position that I want to be. So is very important to resist the score at the beginning."

Nadal on his success against Federer: "I played a lot of times against him, and a lot of times I played great against him. So probably that's why I had this success against him."

Nadal on Federer's complaints about his grunting: "When I am playing, when I am hitting the ball during the point, the last thing that I am thinking is try to bother the opponent. The only thing that I am focusing on is try to hit my ball well. ... But if I bothered him in any moment, he knows 100 percent it was not because I wanted to. I never do anything on court to bother the opponent."

Federer on whether he played as well as he had hoped: "I was hoping that my forehand was going to work out a bit better, but it didn't, so that let me down a bit. Then it was just the lack of opportunities I created for myself, which put the pressure on me too frequently instead of maybe being able to do that the other way around. He did a good job. He didn't make many errors, even though I was trying to hit hard and flat. I tried to play my game. Sometimes I did play very well and sometimes I didn't. But he overall was more consistent. He deserved to win tonight. I mean, he was better."

Federer on his game plan: "I tried a few things. Then again, Rafa does a good job of neutralizing you. The problem was because I wasn't getting into enough service games, you're not going to try out a crazy amount of things on your own service games. There you need to play tough and aggressive and you just have to be solid. So I guess at times I couldn't quite do what I wanted to do, but that's because of Rafa."

Federer on complaining about Nadal's grunting: "It goes in phases. One point he does and [one point] he doesn't. That's just what I was complaining about. It had no impact on the outcome of the match."

Federer on Nadal's uniqueness: "It's totally different playing Rafa over anybody else. Playing [Andy[ Murray or Rafa is day and night. It's not because of the level necessarily, but it's just every point is played in a completely different fashion and I have to totally change my game. No excuse. It's just a fact."

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