The 2014 Australian Open will come to a close on Sunday with the men's final between No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal and No. 8 seed Stanislas Wawrinka. Saturday saw the champion of the women's singles bracket crowned as Li Na bested Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets, 7-6, 6-0.
Nadal is playing in his third Australian Open final hoping to win it for the first time since 2009. Wawrinka, on the other hand, is playing in his first major final. The world No. 8 has a lot to prove at this point, but he's had the tournament of his life thus far.
Wawrinka is making a surprise appearance in the finals. After besting No. 17 seed Tommy Robredo in the round of 16, many expected Wawrinka's run to end when he met No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Djokovic appeared to have smooth sailing to a fourth straight Australian Open final.
But Wawrinka took down Djokovic in five sets, and handled No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych in the semifinals. He's playing the best tennis of his career, going back to last year when he took Djokovic to 22 games in the fifth set of the Aussie Open fourth round, and lost in five sets again to Djokovic in the U.S. Open. But Wawrinka hasn't beaten Nadal in 12 matches. In fact, Wawrinka has never won even a single set against Nadal.
Still, Nadal hasn't typically had his best success at the Australian Open. He won it in 2009, topping Roger Federer in five sets, but fell to Djokovic in the finals back in 2012. With Djokovic out of the way, Nadal is now the clear favorite.
Television coverage for the match will be provided by ESPN. They'll have coverage on the flagship network beginning at 3 a.m. and it's expected to run through 6:30. If you're hoping to watch online, you have two choices from ESPN. The two services are the same, but the English stream of WatchESPN will require log-in verification, while the ESPN3 broadcast in Spanish will be available to all.