Dimitrov did win their last meeting against a busted up and out of form Nadal at the back end of past year though, taking his first win over the Spaniard in straight sets at Beijing.
“That was fantastic. I have said hundreds of time, but I can’t stop saying thanks because it was very emotional for everybody”, recalled Nadal.
His win meant that this is the first time since the 1968 French Open that three 30-somethings have made the men’s semifinals at a Grand Slam.
And while Nadal was embroiled in a near five-hour scrap with Dimitrov, Federer was able to rest after beating Stanislas Wawrinka over five sets in his semifinal Thursday. Nadal had been poised to win in four sets – but Dimitrov used his mobility and a booming serve to prolong the match at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, and his creativity and lashing backhand gave Nadal fits.
“It’s all real, I never thought in my wildest dreams I would come this far in Australia”, a glowing Federer said in his courtside interview, having come to Australia with no expectations after six months out of the game. Venus beat out her opponent, CoCo Vandeweghe, with a 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3 victory to advance to the final. Federer saved a crucial break-point, and in the next turn, he forced the service of his opponent when Wawrinka sent on the net the ball, closing a handsome first partial with the score of 7-5. He also reached the summit clash of Australian Open in 2012 and 2014 but lost to Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka respectively. “I just said: You know what?”
A vintage meeting between the pair would represent their ninth major final together and their first since the French Open in 2011, when Nadal prevailed in four sets.
“Right now, I’m enjoying the fight, that’s for sure”, he said. Lucic-Baroni reached the semifinals 19 years after her only previous singles match win at the Australian Open. The 35-year-old Serena Williams will next meet the No. 79-ranked, 34-year-oldMirjana Lucic-Baroni, who beat Karolina Pliskova in three sets earlier on Rod Laver Arena to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in almost 18 years. I’m probably Rafa’s number one fan, I think his game is just tremendous.
“It’s going to be tough to make that happen again”, he said.
Raonic had three more set points in the tiebreaker and blew them all before Nadal took a two sets lead on his first set point as the match swung decisively the Spaniard’s way.
Raonic has talked about the need to move forward and shorten the points against the top players who are at a bigger advantage in long baseline rallies.
Venus Williams, the senior women’s player at 36, hasn’t dropped a set en route to becoming the oldest female Slam semifinalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994.
Nadal leads Federer 23-11 in their head-to-heads and has beaten the Swiss in six of their eight grand slam finals.
“I think at that point I just put it a little bit too much on myself”. “I feel very happy for my attitude”.
“I think he’s done incredibly well on all the other surfaces, including grass actually, also indoors, hard and fast”.