Nadal to meet Federer in final after epic win

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Rafael Nadal set up a much-anticipated Australian Open final against old rival Roger Federer with an epic, five-set semi-final win over Grigor Dimitrov.
The Spaniard won 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 in almost five hours to reach a first Grand Slam final since 2014.
Dimitrov’s wait to reach a maiden Slam final continues after Nadal, 30, inflicted his first defeat of the year.
Nadal, who is attempting to win a 15th major title, will face Swiss rival Federer, 35, in Melbourne on Sunday.
“I never dreamed to be back in the final of the Australian Open,” said Nadal.
“It is a very special thing for both of us to be playing again in a major final. Neither of us probably thought we would be here again.”
He will meet Federer, who needed five sets to beat compatriot Stan Wawrinka in Thursday’s first semi-final, in Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena at 08:30 GMT.
As well as an extra day’s rest, 17-time Grand Slam winner Federer spent almost two hours less on court than Nadal during his semi-final, having beaten Wawrinka in a comparatively quick three hours and five minutes.
Twenty-four hours later, both Nadal and Dimitrov showed incredible endurance in a match during which neither man looked like wilting.
Eventually the 25-year-old Bulgarian buckled first – losing his serve at 4-4 in the deciding set – as Nadal wrapped up victory with his third match point at almost 00:45 local time.
Nadal dropped to his knees at the baseline in celebration, bringing a charged Rod Laver Arena to its feet, when Dimitrov sent a forehand long.
His victory means all four singles finalists are aged 30 or over, with 35-year-old Serena Williams meeting sister Venus, 36, in the women’s final on Saturday.

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