Rafael Nadal fought back to topple his great rival Roger Federer in a four-set classic in Melbourne last night to reach the final of the Australian Tennis Open.
Nadal's brute force triumphed over Federer's artistry as the Spaniard rallied from a set and a service break down to bludgeon his way into the final with a 6-7 6-2 7-6 6-4 victory, his eighth win over the Swiss great in 10 grand slam meetings between the two giants of the game.
But Nadal said it was a dream result considering concerns about his form, fitness and motivation in the leadup to the championship.
Federer was philosphical about the result saying it was his first loss for five months, and it was preferable to having to go through a trophy ceremony as the losing finalist.
Tonight's second semi-final is between the top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic and the fourth seed Andy Murray.
Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka will contest the women's final and the world number one ranking after the Russian outlasted the second seed Petra Kvitova and the third seed from Belarus beat the popular Belgian Kim Clijsters in three sets.