This year's Australian Open has witnessed a few thick shades of the Roger Federer of old, coupled with an extra dimension - of a player wanting to come into the net, and doing it pretty well at that.
Where to Watch Live
The epic semifinal is scheduled for a 7.30 pm AEDT (2 pm IST) start with live coverage on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD2 in India. The match can also be live streamed online HERE. Catch the action in the US HERE, while Africa viewers can live stream the match HERE. UK viewers can watch the entire match via live streaming HERE and HERE.
When Friday and that Australian Open semifinal comes calling though, waiting at the other end will be an all too familiar foe, a foe and friend who has more often than not made Federer look like a mere mortal, even during the best of times.
Rafael Nadal will be confident, no doubt of producing yet another master class against Federer, and unless that pesky blister of his comes into play too much, the Swiss master, who was outstanding against Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, will also be aware nothing but his best tennis will do.
"He's been tough to play against, no doubt," Federer said of his perennial rival Nadal. "I'm happy I get a chance to play him in a slam again. I don't remember the last time we played.
"The head to head record is in his favor. I'm looking forward to speaking to [coach] Stefan [Edberg], because when we spoke together, you know, when he came to Dubai and we spoke about the game, we clearly spoke about playing Rafa, as well.
"He thought he had some good ideas, so I'm looking forward to what he has to say. I'm looking forward to hear what the boys have to say. We'll prepare. I hope I can get a win. We'll see."
Nadal, when he is at his best, is nearly untouchable, the groundstrokes irretrievable, the forehand unstoppable. But then when Federer is reigning supreme, he is all of those, and then some.
The Spaniard will be well aware of that, and after watching Federer outclass Murray, he would have tended to that blister carefully, wanting to be hundred percent, knowing that nothing but his best will be enough to book another final at the Australian Open.
"We have played a lot of times," the world number one said. "You don't need to talk about the match. I need to play my best."
Nadal holds the psychological edge, after the number of times in recent years, especially in Grand Slams, that the Spaniard has gotten the better of Federer.
But this Federer, with Edberg in tow, does look a little different, reinvigorated, and no doubt someone that won't just go down tamely.
Only time will tell which of the two iconic tennis players of the modern era comes out smiling at the end of the battle at the Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
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