So much for an all-Swiss final in the first Grand Slam of the year; the world number did not allow it and instead is aiming for the 14th majors title of his career.
Rafael Nadal beat (up) Roger Federer in the semifinals on Friday and set-up a Melbourne final with Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated Tomas Berdcyh of Czech Republic in the other final four match last Thursday.
The semis match wasn’t the biggest win for Wawrinka in this tournament—or perhaps even his career—however. The huge victory came in the quarterfinals when he pulled off the upset against top seed Novak Djokovic,
Nadal is simply in a different plane this year. The Spaniard has only lost one set in six matches in this tournament. Not to say that the world number one hasn’t been tested. All in all, he was involved in five tiebreakers and has come out on top each time.
Road to the 2014 Australian Open Finals:
Wawrinka def. A. Golubev (KAZ), 6-4, 4-1 retired (first round); def. A. Falla (COL), 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 (second round); def. V. Pospisil (CAN), walkover (third round); def. T. Robredo (SPA), 6-3, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) (Round of 16); def. N. Djokovic (SRB), 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7; def. T. Berdcyh (CZE), 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) (semifinals)
Nadal def. B.Tomic (AUS), 6-4, retired (First Round); def. T. Kokkinakis (AUS), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 (Second Round); def. G. Monfils (FRA), 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 (Third Round); def. K. Nishikori (JPN), 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3) (Round of 16); def. G. Dimitrov (BUL), 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7), 6-2 (Quarterfinals); def. Roger Federer (SUI), 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3 (semifinals)
Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) vs. Rafael Nadal (Spain) at 7:30 p.m. AEDT Match Odds: Wawrinka (5.00) vs. Nadal (1.18) Game Handicap: Wawrinka (+5.5) vs. Nadal (-5.5)
All-time head-to-head (12 meetings): Nadal leads Wawrinka, 12-0
Even after big wins over higher-seeded players Djokovic and Berdych, it appears that sportsbooks doesn’t give the Swiss much chance to upset the world number one. That’s no disrespect to Wawrinka however as he hasn’t won a match against the Spaniard in a dozen tries.
They met four times in 2013 and each time, Nadal delivered the straight sets victory.
Nadal vs. Wawrinka Last Four Matches: World Tour Masters Finals round-robin, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) World Tour Masters Shanghai quarterfinals - 7-6 (10), 6-1 French Open quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 World Tour Masters Madrid final, 6-2, 6-4
This is the 8th appearance of Wawrinka in the Aussie Open and the farthest he could reach was the quarterfinals in 2011. In all Grand Slam play, the best he could do was the semifinals of the 2013 US Open.
Meanwhile this is Nadal's third appearance in the final in Australia. He won in 2009 and settled for a runner-up finish in 2012. The world number one has a total of 13 Grand Slam titles.
In short, this is already a rare feat for Wawrinka and he’s going to make sure he doesn’t pass up the chance to win his first ever Grand Slam title of his career. Even against the great Rafael Nadal.
Prediction: Wawrinka in a classic 5-setter. Watch the huge upset happen at AO TV Live.