The moment you hear ” Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal” , flashes of gruelling battles, artistic tennis and sheer determination start appearing in-front of your eyes. Such legendary their rivalry is that majority of tennis critics and pundits call it the best the game as ever seen in its glorious past. Even former legends like Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg and Jimmy Connors get mesmerised by the quality of tennis these two come up with. A Federer vs Nadal match is usually expected to be the final showdown of a tournament. But thanks to a certain Novak Djokovic, Federer and Nadal find themselves facing each other in the penultimate match of the championships.
Day 11 of the 2012 Australian Open sees a renewal of the great rivalry as the two super heavyweights clash in the 1st men’s singles semi final at what should be a sold out Rod Laver Arena. Having been placed in the same half of a slam draw for the first time since 2005 French Open, this was always destined to happen. And both the champions have kept their date with destiny.
World number 2 Rafael Nadal has had quite an easy passage coming into the semi-finals. In the 1st round match, Nadal thrashed American qualifier Alex Kuznetsov, then over came the challenge of German veteran Tommy Haas in 2nd round and downed Lukas Lacko in the 3rd round. In the round of 16, Nadal outclassed his fellow compatriot and friend Feliciano Lopez. A stern test awaited Nadal in the quarter finals in the form of 7th seed Tomas Berdych. Nadal was forced to drop his 1st set of the championship as Berdych fired his heavy forehand into Nadal’s backhand. Nadal was down a set point in 2nd set too but then arose the champion within Nadal and he whipped off the 2nd set squaring up the match. The 3rd and 4th set were comparatively easy for Nadal as he made his way into his 1st Australian Open semi-final in 3 years.
Federer, on the other hand, has had quite some hindrances on his way to semi-final. Federer got his 1st real test of the championship in the 3rd round when he defeated the big serving Ivo Karlovic. The next on Federer’s list was the Australian teen sensation, Bernard Tomic. But the young boy had no answers whatsoever to the sublime ground strokes of Federer. Federer faced his old rival Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro in the qurter finals. To everyone’s surprise, Federer demolished the 2009 US Open champion in 3 straight sets to enter yet another semi-final in his career.
Nadal has looked the fittest he has ever been and is moving around the court as swiftly as ever. On the other hand, Federer is looking in his vintage form and up for it. What all this means is you are going to be treated with some high quality tennis on Indian Republic Day.
Semi Final 1 : 2.Rafael Nadal (Spain) vs 3.Roger Federer (Switzerland), Rod Laver Arena @ 2pm IST