Nadal Crushes Federer to Reach Australian Open Final

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2014

Rafael Nadal continued his mastery of Roger Federer and will head to the Australian Open Final.
Rafael Nadal continued his mastery of Roger Federer and will head to the Australian Open Final.Aaron Favila

Rafael Nadal is heading to his third Australian Open Final.

The 27-year-old Spaniard continued his mastery of longtime rival Roger Federer on Friday, winning the second of two men's semifinals 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 in straight sets.

After a competitive opening set, in which Federer denied his foe multiple break point attempts, Nadal was able to come through in the tiebreak for a one set lead.

The grueling nature of the set, and its disheartening end, seemed to take something out of Federer, and he came out in the second just looking to hold on. He was largely on the defensive, as Nadal began to attack and impose his will on the match, forcing Federer to move around the court at a furious pace to defend his own serve.

Nadal got the first break of the match at 3-2 in the second, and he didn't let his opponent off the hook.

Down two sets, and with a dialed in foe across the court from him, Federer refused to fold. 

After falling down a break at 1-2 in the third, Federer rallied to finally break his stubborn foe back and provide a glimmer of hope to his many boisterous fans inside the Rod Laver Arena. 

But his success would be short lived.

Nadal would end up breaking Federer's serve twice more, including in the final game of the match, to secure the victory. With it, he improves to 23-10 in the overall series between the two men and 9-2 in majors.

The last time Federer defeated Nadal at a Grand Slam was in the 2007 Wimbledon Finals.

Nadal will face Federer's Swiss countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in the Finals on Sunday.