Rafael Nadal continued to establish his dominance against Roger Federer in the semifinals of the 2014 Australian Open on Friday. Nadal was able to finish off the 17-time major winner in consecutive sets, ousting Federer from the tournament.
Nadal has clearly established himself as the world's top seed after struggling with injury and illness for a good part of 2013. His resurgence has been remarkable, and it appears that Nadal is showing no signs of slowing down.
Throughout the 2014 Australian Open, Nadal has devastated every opponent to appear across the court. Of his six matches, five ended by Nadal retiring his competition in consecutive sets. The latest drubbing of Federer—7-6, 6-3, 6-3—only adds to Nadal's confidence going forward.
Now the 27-year-old Nadal is set to take on eighth-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka in the finals on Sunday night. Nadal has not had any kind of an issue with Wawrinka in the past, as the Spaniard has a 12-0 record against his upcoming opponent.
With the way Nadal is playing right now, expect that record to remain untarnished.
During an interview with ESPN.com, Nadal expressed his pleasure with the way he has been playing of late—especially his performance against Federer:
It's really, really emotional for me to be back on this court, Rod Laver Arena, and to be able to play another final. I think tonight I played the best match of the tournament. I go on court (against Federer) knowing that is a really tough match and if I am not playing my best, I will not have the chance to win.
As this ESPN twitter account points out, Nadal has been able to get the best of Federer in recent contests:
Rafael Nadal has now won 5 straight meetings overall vs Federer, and 6 straight meetings in Grand Slam events. Last loss in a GS - 2007.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 24, 2014
"Nadal is something like the tennis Terminator when he's on top of his game." http://t.co/gUcw3jemaU— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 24, 2014
Nadal is something like the tennis Terminator when he's on top of his game, a relentlessly physical automaton who can get to anything and rarely mishits. He hammered at Federer's backhand with his looping lefty forehand, the same advantage that's defined most of their rivalry, and slowly forced Federer to mishit more and more playable balls. After failing to convert any break points in the first set, Nadal took one in the second and three in the third.
Like Tiger Woods in golf or Kobe Bryant in basketball, who both constantly step up when the stakes are highest, Nadal also has that certain switch that allows him to take his game to a level that is unequaled by his competitors.
Nadal has already flipped that switch during the 2014 Australian Open, and he looks completely unbeatable.