MELBOURNE, Jan 26 (IANS): World No. 2 Rafael Nadal overcame his greatest rival Roger Federer 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4 Thursday to reach his second Australian Open final here Thursday.
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka will meet Russia's Maria Sharapova in the women's singles final. Third seed Azarenka defeated Belgium's defending champion Kim Clijsters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 while fourth seed Sharapova got past No. 2 Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday.
The Nadal-Federer contest lived up to the high expectations with the two champions fighting it out for each point.
Four-time winner Federer took the first set by winning the tie-break 7-5. Nadal broke Federer's serve twice in the second to tie the match.
The World No.3 saved four set points in the third set tie-break before a nervous Nadal took the last remaining set point to take the lead in the match.
Nadal yet again proved his resilience got the better of Federer's class as he closed up the match in the fourth set on his second match point. The Swiss hit more winners than his Spanish rival but his 63 unforced errors to Nadal's 34 led to his downfall.
With the win, Nadal improved his record against Federer to 18-9 and 8-2 in Grand Slams.
Nadal, the 2009 champion, meets the winner of the second semifinal between Serbian World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Britain's Andy Murray.