8.37amFolks, this is the one that you have been waiting for. Well, for a couple of days at least. Two of the greatest players that the sport has ever seen are about to do battle for a place in the Australian Open.
8.40amWe are a little behind schedule on the Rod Laver Arena, but fear not, both Nadal and Federer are striding down the corridor with intent, and the crowd are on their feet as they make their way onto court. Incredible reaction for Nadal!
8.43amThe winner of today's encounter will move on to face Stanislas Wawrinka in the final on Sunday. Yesterday, Wawrinka made it through to his first Grand Slam final with a four-set triumph over Tomas Berdych. The Swiss number two will be the underdog whoever he faces, but he has got the game to trouble either Nadal or Federer. What an occasion it would be if it was an all-Swiss final.
8.44amIncredibly, this is the 33rd meeting between Nadal and Federer, and what a rivalry it has been. However, it's slightly one-sided in the Spaniard's favour, who has won 22 times compared to Federer's 10 victories. The left-hander has also won the last four matches.
8.47amOne factor that could play a part in this encounter is Nadal's blistered hand. It looked extremely painful during one of the changeovers in his match with Grigor Dimitrov. He doesn't appear to have any protection over the cut though. We will see how that develops.
8.51amThe warm-up is complete. The players are ready. It will be Federer to serve first. Game on!
Nadal *0-1 FedererFederer blitzes his way to 40-0, although Nadal nearly takes his head off with a thunderous shot from the baseline. The Swiss remains unfazed and Nadal is unable to return a serve to give Federer the opening game.
Nadal 1-1* FedererIt's an equally impressive start from the Spaniard, who forces Federer to go long with a couple of accurate first serves.
Nadal *1-2 FedererFederer moves to 30-15, before Nadal whips a forehand back at the Swiss to force the error. However, Federer comes through the game impressively, playing a fine one-two off his serve before showing superb reactions at the net to volley into the open court.
Nadal 2-2* FedererFederer has started this match brightly, and he is all over the net to put away a volley after a well-timed drop-shot. Nadal puts a backhand wide for 0-30, but he responds with a scintillating backhand pass. Federer misses a HUGE opportunity for 30-30 after misfiring with a backhand, before he does the same with a forehand. There's no mistake with that shot though - Federer pummels a forehand return past Nadal. However, the Spaniard hangs on and we remain on serve.
Nadal *2-3 FedererA couple of first serves help Federer to 40-0, and the love hold is completed when Nadal goes for too much on a forehand return.
Nadal 3-3* FedererFederer connects with a backhand return but it marginally misses the line. The Swiss has a chance on the next too, but he can't convert a forehand pass. It turns into a routine hold for the Spaniard.
Nadal *3-4 FedererThe opening two points of the game are shared, but Nadal edges ahead with a huge return winner off his backhand. The Spaniard then whips a top-spin forehand past the advancing Swiss for two break points, but he misses out with a third winner in a row. Federer saves the second break opportunity to take the game to deuce. It's a super hold from Federer, who fires down his first ace to help save the game.
Nadal 4-4* FedererFederer remains competitive in the game when Nadal goes long for 30-15, and although Nadal achieves two game points, his opponent fires back with a huge forehand from the baseline. It's 40-30 - what a sensational rally on the next point! The duo go toe-to-toe with back-and-forth shots from the baseline, and it's Nadal who prevails when Federer nets. Best point of the match.
Nadal *4-5 FedererNadal is having increasing success on the Federer serve, and he forces the Swiss to net to bring up 15-30. Federer records his second ace, but he then proceeds to hit another shot into the net. It's break point to Nadal, but it's saved when a deep forehand into the corner makes Nadal go long. Nervous times for the Swiss! Nadal tamely concedes the game with a couple of mistakes, and Federer survives. This is hotting up nicely.
Nadal 5-5* FedererFederer just misses with a backhand return, before doing the same off his forehand side. However, Nadal throws in a mistake of his own, and it's 30-15. The Spaniard then loops a forehand long, and out of nowhere, Federer is two away from the set. The Swiss senses his chance, but he goes for too much on a forehand! Nadal then swings an ace out wide, and we are back level.
Nadal *5-6 FedererThere haven't been a whole lot of winners lately, but the play becomes a bit more positive when Federer uses his skills at the net to move to 30-0. The next two points are shared, before a third ace from Federer guarantees him at least a tie-break.
Nadal 6-6* FedererThe game opens with a 33-shot rally before Federer hits halfway up the net with a backhand, much to the crowd's displeasure! They enjoyed that exchange. More mistakes from Federer allow Nadal to ease to three game points, but the Swiss forces the left-hander into two of his own. Can Federer force deuce? No, he can't. A return goes long, and we are heading into a tie-break.
Nadal *6-6 (5-1) FedererNadal immediately secures the mini-break when a Federer backhand clips the net and goes wide, but he gifts it back to Federer after going into the tramlines. Disaster for Federer, who, after missing with a backhand, nets the easiest of volleys at the net! 3-1 to Nadal soon becomes 4-1 when a punishing baseline shot forces Federer to net. Federer needs the next point, but he doesn't get it. He nets, and Nadal is two points away from the set.
Nadal 7-6 (7-4) FedererNerves? Maybe. Nadal sprays a forehand wide to make it 5-2. The Spaniard then chases down a drop-shot, but Federer volleys into the open court. Nadal then goes long from a second serve, and all of a sudden, it's 5-4. Nadal has two serves for the set. HUGE from the Spaniard, who drills a forehand into the corner to earn himself two set points. He takes the first after outlasting his opponent, and after 59 minutes, Nadal is a set to the good.
Nadal 7-6 1-0* FedererFederer could do with a fast start in this set. After taking the first point, he drills a blistering forehand at Nadal for 30-30. But what a mistake on the next! Federer sets up the point beautifully before dumping a drive volley into the net. The point was there for the taking! Nadal then plays the most ridiculous of backhands from the baseline to take the game.
10.01amThe trainer is on for Nadal. The blister has returned. It doesn't look too pretty!
10.03amThere was a collective wince from the crowd when they saw Rafa's blister on the big screen. Will it hinder his performance?
Nadal *7-6 1-1 FedererFederer returns with a blistering forehand (pun intended), but Nadal attempts to show that the niggle won't bother him with a supreme backhand winner from the corner of the court. Federer has two game points, and he somehow seals it on the first with a miraculous volley at the net, but there had to be a bit of frame in there somewhere.
Nadal 7-6 2-1* FedererA cross-court forehand from Nadal sees him take the opening point, and it's an easy hold from there, with three mistakes coming from the Swiss
Nadal *7-6 2-2 FedererNow then, will this be the first break of the match? Nadal eases into a 0-30 advantage, but the left-hander miscues a backhand down the line to halve his lead. Federer then lets fly with a powerful forehand into the corner to level the game. The Swiss nets to concede break point, but he sends down a super serve down the middle to save it. The pair get embroiled in an excellent period of play, with Nadal creating two more break points, but Federer holds firm to hold, sealing it with a successful challenge to record a forehand winner.
Nadal 7-6 3-2* FedererFederer has yet to create a break point on the Nadal serve, and that continues in this game. It's no surprise when Nadal is hitting backhand winners at will, and his ninth comes in this game. Federer hasn't hit a single one. A love hold is sealed with an ace.
Nadal *7-6 4-2 FedererBREAK! Danger once again for Federer, who drops the first two points on serve. Federer plays a fine winner into the corner, but Nadal finds another miracle shot in getting a backhand over the net that forces Federer to frame a volley. It's two break points to Nadal, and although he misses out with the first, he drives a forehand winner past the Swiss on the next to seal the first break of the match.
Nadal 7-6 5-2* FedererNadal has looked unbeatable on serve so far, and although he throws in a double fault, he powers his way to 40-15, and another first serve is sent wide by Federer.
Nadal *7-6 5-3 FedererA love hold for Federer. He needed that! He seals it with an ace, and the onus turns to Nadal to try to serve for the set.
Nadal 7-6 6-3* FedererSET! Is this the moment for the Swiss? Nadal sends a couple of baseline shots long, and Federer has 0-30! Nadal takes the next point, but what a rally! The crowd inside the Rod Laver Arena are on their feet after a stunning exchange which came to an end when Federer netted an attempted passing shot. It can't get better, surely? It can! Unbelievable from Nadal. Federer thinks he is about to have two break points, but Nadal fires down the most instinctive of forehand winners. Unreal. Federer is being blown away in the power stakes, and Nadal has set point when the Swiss goes for too much on a forehand. It's a tame ending when a second serve is hit into the net by his opponent, and it's a long way back here for the seventeen-time Grand Slam champion.
Nadal *7-6 6-3 0-1 FedererFederer starts the third in positive fashion, sending down a couple of big first serves to hold to love. It would be the comeback of all comebacks if he wins this in five sets.
Nadal 7-6 6-3 1-1* FedererI have no idea how Federer is going to create a break point. That's perhaps the first time that anyone has ever said that! Nadal holds to 15 with such ease, and the pressure immediately switches to the Swiss to hold his own serve.
Nadal *7-6 6-3 2-1 FedererBREAK! Federer plants a forehand into the corner, but he is in trouble at 15-30. It gets worse for the Swiss, who clips the top of the net and the ball flies out. Two break points for Nadal! That's horrendous from Federer, who dumps a backhand volley into the net, and Nadal is closing in on a place in the Australian Open final.
Nadal 7-6 6-3 2-2* FedererBREAK! Nadal miscues a forehand on the opening point, but he produces such an effective second serve to get back on level terms. Now then! Nadal makes two mistakes, and Federer finally has a break point. Well, he has two! He just misses with a return, but he takes the second! Drama on the Rod Laver Arena. Nadal goes long with a forehand, and the crowd are singing Federer's name. They want this to continue for a good while yet.
Nadal *7-6 6-3 2-3 FedererFederer kicks off with a drop-shot, but what is he doing? He goes all-out attack to try to dominate the game, but he only succeeds in giving Nadal two break points! The Swiss shows plenty of guts, though, remaining undeterred to maintain the assault on the Spaniard, and four confident points in succession help him hold serve.
Nadal 7-6 6-3 3-3* FedererThe Swiss has the momentum, but he lets it slip with consecutive shots into the net. Nadal takes the game with a thunderous forehand from the baseline to hold to love.
Nadal *7-6 6-3 4-3 FedererBREAK! Federer fires down his seventh ace of the match, but Nadal responds with a stunning winner. Federer hits back with a flat forehand into the open court, but he just misses the target with the same shot. It's 30-30, but that soon becomes 30-40 to Nadal after Federer finds the net for the umpteenth time. Can he save it? He finds the first serve, but a forehand catches the top of the net and goes long. That could be it...
Nadal 7-6 6-3 5-3* FedererFederer latches onto a poor second serve to get back to 15-15, but Nadal's response is superb, directing a forehand winner into the corner. The Swiss continues to fight, though, and he finds the corner with a wonderfully-timed backhand. Oh Roger! On several occasions in this match, he has set up an opportunity but failed to take it, and it happens here. He hits a backhand drive volley into the net, and the game is gone. Nadal is one away.
Nadal 7-6 6-3 6-3 FedererMATCH! What a stunning game. Federer hits a baseline winner and an ace, but Nadal records three supreme winners from the back of the court to earn deuce. It's a relentless assault from the Spaniard, and he brings up match point after Federer goes long. It's a fantastic save though from Federer, who plays a positive point to force the error. NO WAY! Nadal hasn't just done that. It looks as though Federer has the point, but Nadal stretches to his maximum to direct a forehand passing shot into the corner! It's match point, and it's taken! Federer goes long and Nadal is into the final.
11.19amWhat an incredible end. That was without doubt the game of the match, and Nadal has come through it with flying colours. Federer was considered a big threat to the world number one today, but he has been blown away by the sheer intensity of the Spaniard. All this with a blistered hand too.
11.21amThe vital statistic of the match was probably the 50 unforced errors from Federer. Like I mentioned earlier, he was creating opportunities for himself, but he just wasn't taking them. He only managed to win 27% of points on Nadal's serve too, which obviously needed to improve if he was ever going to stand a chance of victory.
11.24amThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. We will have full text coverage of both of the women's and men's singles finals over the weekend. We hope that you can join us for both. Goodbye for now.