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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Rafael Nadal has beaten Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 to advance to the final of the Australian Open and set up a title match with his old rival, Roger Federer.
The ninth-seeded Spaniard fought off two break points in the eighth game of the fifth set, then hit a backhand winner down the line to break Dimitrov in the next game and take a 5-4 lead. He served it out in the next game to win in 4 hours, 56 minutes.
Nadal improved his record in Grand Slam semifinals to an impressive 21-3 and advanced to his fourth Australian Open final. He’s only won the title at Melbourne Park once in 2009.
Nadal has a 23-11 head-to-head match record against Federer and a 6-2 advantage in Grand Slam finals. Federer hasn’t beaten Nadal in a major final since Wimbledon in 2007.
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