And in the 27th meeting, it was Rafael Nadal who came out the victor.
Three hours into their semifinal match, Nadal misleadingly led Roger Federer two sets to one, but it had been a much closer match throughout (minus the 6-2 second set). Nadal held on to win the match in four sets, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
For Federer, it was his first loss on tour since his last Grand Slam semifinal, when eventual U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic dispatched the Swiss. Nadal improves to 18-9 in his career against Federer.
Nadal will face the winner between the tournament's No. 1 seed, Novak Djokovic, and No. 4 Andy Murray.
Here's a look back at the final set:
- Federer holds serve. Nadal holds serve. Federer holds again. Nadal holds again. 2-all. Here we go again.
- Federer fends off three break points to hold. Nadal wins four straight points to hold his serve. 3- all.
- Federer is up 40-love on his serve and approaches the net. Nadal hits a blazing shot past him but Federer hits a winner during the next point.
- It's 11 p.m. by in Australia by this point. The crowd is doing the wave. There is no piece of the court that goes uncovered. In that time, Federer dominated the net, winning a rally that ends in a shot barely wide by Nadal (He challenged. It was out.) and another net rally that ended with Nadal's shot in the net. Deuce. Ad Federer. Break point. Deuce. Ad. Nadal. Game Rafa. 4-all.
- It's 30-all. The rally goes 19 shots before Rafa wins the point and earns himself a break point. Nadal hits a shot in the net, a freebie. Deuce. Federer hits a shot down the line and stands to watch. He thinks it's a clean winner but Nadal gets it back. Federer scrambles to the net and tries again, another forehand. This time it's a winner. Nadal wins the next point. Back to deuce. Federer tries the down the line winner again but Nadal gets it this time and passes him. Ad Nadal. Federer strikes the ball wide. It's the first break of the fourth set. 5-4 Nadal.
- It's 40-30. Match point No.1. Nadal hits a backhand just wide as Federer approaches the net. Deuce. Nadal hits the ball long. Now Federer has a change to break. Ad to Rog. An epic point that brings Federer to the net and then back to the baseline where he overheads a high ball and hits it wide. Back to deuce. Nadal's shot is in the net. Ad Federer. Break point No. 2 of this 10th game in the fourth set. Federer returns the ball into the net. Deuce again. Three hours and 40 minutes into the match. It's a short rally and Federer's backhand flies wide again. Ad Nadal. Match point No. 2. It's a rally that ends in Federer's backhand shot just long.
- Game. Set. Match.
Nadal raises his hands in the air as he shouts, but he won't fall to his knees. He'll save that for if he wins the next match because Nadal is onto the finals.