Australian Open semifinal: Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal preview, TV schedule

January 23

It’s the match everyone’s been waiting for: Switzerland’s Roger Federer will play Spain’s Rafael Nadal for the 33rd time when they face off in the Australian Open semifinals. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Two titans of tennis – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – will face off again. On the line: a trip to the Australian Open final.

The winner of the match will play Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, who reached his first Grand Slam final with a 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) win over Tomas Berdych.

Federer, who hasn’t been the dominant force he once was, has been in vintage form throughout his stay in Melbourne, dropping one set all tournament – to No. 4 seed Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.

“I’m back,” Federer said after defeating Murray 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6-7), 6-3 (via Associated Press). “It was a great game on many levels, not just physically … but mentally, also.”

Federer will need that confidence in the semifinals, when he faces rival Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard owns a 22-10 head-to-head record against the 17-time Grand Slam winner, which includes an 8-2 lead in Grand Slams.

Nadal has been tested a few times in the second week, battling through a nasty blister on his hand to defeat Grigor Dimitrov in four sets, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, to reach the last four.

“You don’t need to talk about the match,” Nadal said after beating Dimitrov, of the prospects of playing Federer in the semifinal. “I need to play my best.”

Added Federer, “We’ve had some epics over the years….I hope we can slug it out here in a couple of days.”

Not a bad way to start the 2014 Grand Slam tennis season.

When: Friday, Jan. 24 at 3:30 a.m. ET
TV: ESPN

Quick Bios:

Roger Federer
Age: 32
Ranking: 6
Grand Slam titles: 17 (Australian Open – 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010)
Record against Wawrinka: Leads 13-1
Road to the semifinals:

  • Def. James Duckworth, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
  • Def. Blaz Kavcic, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)
  • Def. Teymuraz Gabashvili, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3
  • Def. No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4
  • Def. No. 4 Andy Murray, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3

Rafael Nadal
Age: 27
Ranking: 1
Grand Slam titles: 13 (Australian Open – 2009)
Record against Wawrinka: Leads 12-0
Road to the semifinals:

  • Def. Bernard Tomic, 6-4 (retired)
  • Def. Thanasi Kokkinakis, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
  • Def. No. 25 Gael Monfils, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
  • Def. No. 16 Kei Nishikori, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3)
  • Def. No. 22 Grigor Dimitrov, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (9-7), 6-2
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