Rafael Nadal (left) and Roger Federer have met once in Melbourne, a Rafa win in the '09 final. (EPA)
The potential semifinal match that so many were anticipating the moment the draw came out is now a reality: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will meet Thursday for a spot in the Australian Open final.
Both enter the showdown in good form. Nadal has dropped only one set in Melbourne, against Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. Federer, meanwhile, has not lost a set, looking much like the player who won his final 17 matches last year after his devastating defeat to Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semifinals.
Included in Federer's perfect finish to 2011 was a 6-3, 6-0 thrashing of Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals, where the Swiss improved to 4-0 against the Spaniard on indoor hardcourts. But Nadal still leads the head-to-head series 17-9, including a win in the 2009 Australian Open final, after which he memorably consoled a sobbing Federer, who at the time was one Grand Slam title shy of matching Pete Sampras' record.