World number one Rafa Nadal survived the longest match the Australian Open has ever seen to reach his first Melbourne Park final and earn a chance to deny Roger Federer a record-equalling 14th grand slam singles crown.
The Spanish top seed beat compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 in a five hour 14 minute contest which started on Friday but did not finish until the early hours of Saturday.
"Right now I'm feeling more happy than tired," Nadal said in a courtside interview.
"For sure it will be tough to play the final in another day. My opponent will be difficult because Roger is always very tough.
"It was amazing for me. Playing this match with an unbelievable atmosphere. Thank you very much, it was one of my best matches in my career."
Verdasco had lost all six previous meetings between these two left-handers. Under the floodlights he clobbered 95 clean winners and became the first player here this year to take sets off the seemingly invincible Iberian.
He was ultimately unable to improve his miserable head-to-head record, though, handing Nadal the victory when he double-faulted on match point.
"That's a lot... too much I think," Nadal said of the number of clean winners which flew past him.
"Fernando was playing unbelievable. His serve was amazing, so, I think it's his best tournament in his career. He played unbelievable. Today he deserved this win too so I want to congratulate him."
Federer enjoyed a day off as Nadal toiled deep into the night. The Swiss reached the final on Thursday evening, blasting Andy Roddick off court 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 to reach his 18th grand slam final and fourth one here.