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By John Nestor
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer highlighted Day 11 of the Australian Open as the two all-time greats renewed what is considered the greatest rivalry in modern tennis, and once again it was Nadal who emerged as victorious.
The second-seeded Nadal defied a surging No. 3 seed Federer to advance to his second Aussie Open final in four years via a 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 come-from-behind victory at Rod Laver Arena.
The 10-time major champ and reigning French Open titlist Nadal, who was facing a familiar foe and fellow former No.1, withstood a determined Federer for most of three sets before taking control in the third set.
Federer, 30, who had yet to drop a set at this latest Aussie fortnight, saved four set points in the tiebreaker in the third set before the 25-year-old Nadal converted the fifth.
The Spanish superstar then made the key service break in the ninth game of the fourth set via a brilliant cross-court winner before watching his arch foe hit a backhand wide to give him a 5-4 lead.
It marked the 27th meeting between the two great rivals with Nadal now holding an 18-9 lifetime advantage, including an 8-2 mark in Grand Slam matchups. Nadal has dominated the Swiss master in their last five Grand Slam clashes.
In notching the epic win, Nadal tallied twice as many service breaks, 6-3.
Federer, who was playing in his 30th Grand Slam semifinal and ninth straight Aussie semi, registered 29 more unforced errors (63-34) and five double faults. He managed to hit 11 aces in the loss.
It dashed Federer's hopes of adding to his record 16 Grand Slam titles since he won here in 2010.
Nadal, who bested the great Federer in the 2009 edition of the Aussie Open, will seek to add another title here against world No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic or 2010 and 2011 Aussie runner-up Andy Murray, the fortnight's fourth seed.
Meanwhile in double actions, world No. 1 twin Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, advanced to the final with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) triumph over seventh-seeded team of Swede Robert Lindstedt and Romanian Horia Tecau.
Rafa Continues Dominance Over Federer