Rafael Nadal recovered from the loss of the first set to defeat Roger Federer in a fantastic semi-final match, 6-7 6-2 7-6 6-4. At the beginning of the match, you would have been hard pressed to predict the actual outcome of this match as Federer came out on fire displaying incredible variety with his shots. I gasped twice within the first five games at some of Federer’s shotmaking and remember a sensational backhand that he produced at 4-1, 15-15 on a shot that 99 times out of 100 you would see end up as hitting the net… I have searched for it on YouTube but I have not found it yet! Federer seemed to be cruising to the first set, but Nadal stood tall and recovered the break to force a first set tiebreak. You could really feel the tension on show in the tiebreak, but it was still high quality and fascinating tennis as Federer’s early mini-break was enough to win the first set on a surprising Nadal unforced error.
YouTube video to be added if I can find the Federer winner I am after!
The tide seemed to be turning at the end of the first set and after consecutive breaks of serve, Nadal took the initative and waltzed his way through the second set. There was an array of incredible Nadal winners, but the pick of the day has to be the one I have prepared below! After the 10 minute break for fireworks to celebrate Australia Day, Federer’s play became more irratic and his unforced error count (63 in total) went through the roof. After such a convincing start, Nadal really seemed to get into his head and Federer seemed unsettled on court.
An incredible Nadal winner!
The tennis still continued to entertain and delight as Nadal won the third set on a tiebreak. Federer managed to save 4 set points before finally succumbing to the Spaniard. In the 4th set, Federer had his chances to break the Nadal serve midway through but he was unable to make his advantage pay. Nadal finished off the match in a lengthy, stunning finale as Federer went long on one of his groundstrokes. Much like Sharapova, Nadal has really surprised me at these Championships with his level of play and I completely underestimated him because of his injury problems. Federer once again will go home empty handed and definitely showed today that his mental strength is not quite what it was and the likes of Nadal and Djokovic have a significant mental edge over him at the Grand Slams.