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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tired Nadal lines up Federer

Tired Nadal lines up Federer

January 31, 2009 13:04 IST

The instant surge of ecstasy Rafa Nadal felt after his epic Australian Open semi-final against Fernando Verdasco in the early hours of Saturday did not last long.

The world number one was all smiles as he threw his arms around his fellow Spaniard after beating Verdasco 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 in the longest match ever played at the Australian Open.

"Today was one of those matches you're going to remember for a long time," Nadal said. "The emotion was big, in the last game, I [nearly] started to cry. There was too much tension.

"Verdasco was playing unbelievable...but I was very good mentally all the time, believing in the victory and being very focused.

"It is amazing for me to be in this final, especially with a match like today."

Nadal's initial relief and jubilation at making his first Melbourne Park final quickly gave way to concerns about the physical toll of a match that resembled a heavyweight boxing match.

He faces his great rival Roger Federer on Sunday, knowing he will have to play even better to beat the Swiss master who has had an extra day to recover after winning his own semi-final in straight sets.

Nadal has beaten Federer in the last three finals of the French Open and also beat him in last year's Wimbledon final in one of the greatest matches ever played but this will be their first Grand Slam final on a hardcourt.

"It is always special to play against Federer but to play another final of a Grand Slam [against him] is more exciting," Nadal said.

"I don't know how I'm going to be for the final. I'm going to try my best to recover my body and my physical performance but after a match like this, the next day you feel much heavier.

"For sure, I'd prefer another opponent but that's what makes the sport so big, finals like this."

Source:
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