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Nadal can be a history maker

Rafael Nadal will play for history when he takes on Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open final after once again getting the better of old foe Roger Federer.

The two greatest players of their era, and possibly ever, met for a 33rd time and for the 23rd time it was Nadal who triumphed.

It is a remarkably one-sided record for two men at the top of the game and with Federer now 32, his chances of closing the gap appear to be reducing all the time.

He has not beaten Nadal at a grand slam since the 2007 Wimbledon final and was second best throughout in a 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 6-3 defeat on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal has never lost a set to Wawrinka, who will overtake Federer to become Swiss number one on Monday, and should he continue that record, he would become the first man in the Open era to win all the grand slams at least twice.

The 27-year-old would move to 14 overall, only three adrift of Federer and level with Pete Sampras, who will present the trophy on Sunday and was among the crowd to witness Nadal's masterclass.

"I played well tonight," said the world number one. "I think I played probably my best match of the tournament. So I'm very, very happy. It's a very special moment to have the chance to be in another final."

The first set was tight, but it was Nadal who had the break points, missing three before making his superiority count in the tiebreak.

Nadal finally broke serve in the sixth game of the second set and at no point did a Federer comeback look on the cards.

Nadal insisted his record against Federer was not a weapon, adding: "I go with doubts. But the doubts are good."

The Spaniard took a medical time-out after the first game of the second set to have it retaped.

Walking off court a loser against Nadal was a familiar feeling for Federer, who will drop to eighth in the rankings on Monday.

BLIP

Federer's only break points came in the fourth game of the third set and although he did take one, it was no more than a blip for Nadal.

Missing out on an all-Swiss final against Wawrinka was another blow for Federer, but he will leave Australia at least knowing he is back in the grand slam mix.

Federer was heard to complain to umpire Jake Garner about Nadal's grunting, but no action was taken.

The Swiss confirmed it was not the first time he had brought the matter up, while he also called for consistency in applying the time violation rules, with Nadal a persistent offender.

Nadal appeared surprised Federer had brought up the issue and said: "I never do anything on court (deliberately) to bother the opponent."


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