Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov Australian Open semis: Nadal sets up Federer final | tennis | Hindustan Times
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Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov Australian Open semis: Nadal sets up Federer final

Rafael Nadal beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 in the semifinal of the Australian Open men’s singles. Nadal will play Roger Federer in Sunday’s final. Catch highlights and tennis score of Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov here.

tennis Updated: Jan 27, 2017 19:45 IST
nadal vs dimitrov

Rafael Nadal after beating Grigor Dimitrov in an Australian Open men’s singles semifinal in Melbourne on Friday. Nadal will play Roger Federer in the final on Sunday.(AP)

Grigor Dimitrov, who won in Brisbane at the start of the year, got a chance to show he had turned the corner on Friday when he faced Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals. Victory would have put him in his first grand slam final. But that was not to be. Highlights of Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov here. (Where to see live streaming)

7:28 pm IST: This is the first time in the Open Era that all four finalists at a slam are aged 30+. Venus (36), Serena (35), Federer (35), Nadal (30)

“I didn’t think of being where I am today, but I always had confidence that if I can win some matches anything can happen,” said Nadal after the hard-fought win vs Dimitrov.

7:18 pm IST: The Spaniard wins an epic of a contest 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4. But well played, Dimitrov. The match lasted four hour and 56 minutes.

7:15 pm IST: NADAL WINS!!! Dimitrov’s return lands wide of the baseline and Nadal wins 6-4. He will face Roger Federer at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Sunday.

7:15 pm IST: Advantage Nadal!

7:14 pm IST: Deuce again!

7:13 pm IST: Advantage Nadal

7:12 pm IST: Deuce!

7:11 pm IST: 40-30 for Nadal. Match point

7:10 pm IST: 30-all. Great fight by Dimitrov

7:09 pm IST: 30-15 for Nadal

7:08 pm IST: 30-0 for Nadal

7:07 pm IST: 15-0 for Nadal

7:06 pm IST: BROKEN! Nadal with the vital break at 5-4 and will now serve for the match. A backhand winner for the Spaniard and the crowd are roaring behind the champion. Dimitrov has to break Nadal to stay in the match

7:05 pm IST: Nadal with a break in the ninth game. Will he take advantage and take the lead? He leads 5-4.

7:02 pm IST: A forehand forced error from Dimitrov and Nadal’s held on to his serve. Oh! What a competitor. From 15-40 down to take that game in that fashion. it’s 4-4 in the final set at the Rod Laver Arena.

7:01 pm IST: Nadal saves the second with a forehand volley winner and that’s an ecstatic cheer from the Spanish champion. Yet another forehand volley winner on the net by Nadal and he holds the advantage on his serve. It’s 4-4.

6:59 pm IST: A backhand winner down the line by Nadal as he save a break point. He still has to save one more.

6:58 pm IST: Double break point for Dimitrov as he goes 40-15 up with a forehand smash winner.

6:54 pm IST: Dimitrov with a forehand winner to go on advantage. The Bulgarian follows it up with a forehand winner and he now leads 4-3 in the final set.

6:53 pm IST: A backhand forced error from Dimitrov and it’s deuce in Game 7

6:49 pm IST: A forehand forced error from DImitrov and Nadal manages to hold his serve. It’s 3-2 in the final set at the Rod Laver Arena. It’s 3-3

6:45 pm IST: Nadal fails to grab the opportunity as a forced error from the Spaniard levels the game at deuce. Another forced error from Nadal followed by a smash forehand winner from Dimitrov helps him take the lead at 3-2 in the fifth set.

6:43 pm IST: Nadal with a break point as Dimitrov smashes his return on the net.

6:40 pm IST: A forehand forced error from Dimitrov and Nadal takes the fourth game to level things at 2-2 in the fifth set.

6:35 pm IST: Dimitrov seals the game with an ace. It’s 2-1 in favour of the Bulgarian in the fifth set at the Rod Laver Arena.

6:33 pm IST: The match has gone past midnight at Melbourne now! Such a brilliant endorsement for tennis!

6:32 pm IST: The Spaniard clinches the game with a forehand winner. It’s 1-1 in the fifth set at the Rod Laver Arena.

6:31 pm IST: Dimitrov with an erratic return and that’s yet another missed opportunity for the Bulgarian. Deuce in Game 2 of the fifth set.

6:30 pm IST: Dimitrov with a brilliant forehand down the line and has a break against Nadal in the second game

6:24 pm IST: Dimitrov manages to hold serve. An unforced error from Nadal followed by a forehand winner from Dimitrov seals the game in favour of the Bulgarian, who leads 1-0 in the fifth and deciding set. Live tennis scores and updates continue here.

6:23 pm IST: It’s deuce #4. Brilliant forehand from Nadal, as it has been all night and it’s all square in Game 1. Nadal with a break point now in the 1st game

6:20 pm IST: A forehand winner had given him the advantage once again, but a forced error levels it at deuce once again. An unforced error from Nadal and it’s advantage Dimitrov once again

6:18 pm IST: Dimitrov with an advantage on his serve in the first game of the fifth set. Dimitrov fails to take the advantage. Smashes one back on the net after a 20-shot rally.

6:10 pm IST: Nadal pulls one back but Dimitrov takes the set 7-6 (4). It’s two-set all and all to play for in the fifth. And for the second time in the men’s semifinals this year, we are heading to the fifth set.

6:09 pm IST: Dimitrov leads 6-3.

6:08 pm IST: A calm forehand volley winner from Dimitrov as he extends the lead to 4-2.

6:07 pm IST: An erratic return from Nadal and Dimitrov will now serve with a 3-2 advantage.

6:05 pm IST: Dimitrov pulls one back. The forehand had just landed on the line; unsuccessful review from Nadal. It’s 1-1. Dimitrov with a backhand winner and now leads 2-1

6:03 pm IST: Nadal wins the point on his serve. Leads 1-0

6:03 pm IST: Dimitrov holds serve with a forehand winner and it’s going to be a tie-break once again. 6-6 in set No. 4

5:58 pm IST: A bit of a wobble on the net but Nadal still manages to take the point forcing an error from Dimitrov. He now leads 6-5. What a brilliant game that was, including a 21-shot rally!

5:54 pm IST: Dimitrov blasts his 15th ace of the match as the Bulgarian levels the set back at 5-5. Dimitrov won a love game! He’s definitely used those new balls to his advantage; two aces in the game!

5:50 pm IST: A backhand winner for Nadal and he’s taken the lead at 5-4 in the fourth set now. Dimitrov will now serve to stay in the match.

5:46 pm IST: Nadal smashes his return on the net and Dimitrov holds serve once again. It’s all tied at 4-4 in the fourth set of the second semifinal at the Rod Laver Arena.

5:42 pm IST: Nadal holds serve with a backhand winner on the line. He now leads 4-3 in the fourth set of the second semifinal. Winner meets Roger Federer in Sunday’s final.

5:38 pm IST: Nadal sends his return wide and Dimitrov has levelled the fourth set back at 3-3.

5:33 pm IST: Nadal follows up the backhand winner with a forced error from Dimitrov to take the fifth game. It’s 3-2 in his favour at the Rod Laver Arena

5:27 pm IST: Nadal blasts a forehand smash winner to the right of Dimitrov as he levels the game at deuce. Dimitrov holds on. A good forehand winner to level the fourth set at 2-2.

5:23 pm IST: Dimitrov now has an equal number (44) of winners and unforced errors in the match

5:21 pm IST: Nadal takes the game in dominant fashion, including his seventh ace of the match. The Spaniard now leads 2-1 in the fourth set at the Rod Laver Arena.

5:18 pm IST: Dimitrov levels the fourth set at 1-1 with a service winner.

5:15 pm IST: A beautiful forehand winner from Nadal as he takes the first game of the fourth set. It’s 1-0. Nadal leads 6-3, 5-7, 7-6.

5:10 pm IST: Twenty unforced errors from Dimitrov in that set as against 9 from Nadal.

5:07 pm IST: A 70-minute set comes to an end and Nadal takes the set. An unforced error from Dimitrov and Nadal bags the third set 7-6(5) in the tiebreak. He has a two sets to one lead. This is becoming quite an epic.

5:06 pm IST: Set point for Nadal, 6-5. Dimitrov to serve

5:04 pm IST: 5-4 for Nadal. And it’s 5-5!

5:03 pm IST: A long rally and Dimitrov puts it just long. Nadal leads 5-3

5:02 pm IST: Nadal lead cut to 4-3.

5:01 pm IST: Nadal leads 4-2 in third set tie-breaker. It’s 1-set all so far.

4:59 pm IST: Nadal up 3-1. Mini break for the Spaniard.

4:58 pm IST: Dimitrov holds serve. Nadal makes it 1-1.

4:57 pm IST: Third set in tie-breaker. Nadal wins 12th game.

4:54 pm IST: Play comes to a halt for a while. A spectator has collapsed in the stands.

4:48 pm IST: An unforced error from Dimitrov and it’s deuce in Game 11. But the Bulgarian win the game and noses ahead 6-5. Nadal made two consecutive forced errors. Pressure back on Nadal.

4:44 pm IST: Nadal holds serve. It’s 5-5 in third set

4:40 pm IST: Nadal’s lofted return lands wide off the baseline and Dimitrov takes the lead to 5-4. Nadal has to serve to stay in the set now.

4:36 pm IST: Nadal makes it 4-4 with an ace.

4:33 pm IST: Dimitrov slams another ace down the centre of the court as he holds on to his serve and takes the lead at 4-3 in the third set.

4:32 pm IST: Dimitrov doesn’t miss it this time and it’s 3-3 in the third set at the Rod Laver Arena. An unforced error from Nadal as he sends back a return on to the net.

4:30 pm IST: Nadal saves it too! Brilliant gameplay to serve deep and follow it up with a backhand volley winner. It’s deuce. Advantage Dimitrov once again. Placed that forehand well for the fourth break point. BROKEN BACK!

4:29 pm IST: Dimitrov takes the advantage as Nadal smashes back the return on the net. Break point #3 for the Bulgarian in the game.

4:27 pm IST: Dimitrov sends his return wide to lose the first break point. He still has another break point though. Nadal with his 13th net point winner as he pulls things back to a deuce in the sixth game.

4:25 pm IST: Two break points now for Dimitrov. He’s won 3/9 so far

4:20 pm IST: Broken! Nadal takes 3-2 lead in third set. Nadal gets the break in the fifth game and goes 3-2 up and will now serve to extend that lead. That was an unforced error from Dimitrov .

4:17 pm IST: A forehand forced error from Dimitrov after a brilliant rally between the two. Nadal holds serve. It’s 2-2 in the third set.

4:12 pm IST: Dimitrov with a service winner as he takes the game and manages to hold on to his serve. It’s 2-1 in his favour in the third set.

4:11 pm IST: Dimitrov saves the second break point as well with a brilliant forehand volley winner.

4:10 pm IST: Two break points for Nadal. A service winner from Dimitrov as he saves the first break point

4:07 pm IST: Dominant start from Nadal as well. Neither he nor Dimitrov has yet dropped a point on their serves in the third set. It’s tied 1-1.

4:05 pm IST: That’s yet another unforced error from Nadal, who had just two in the first set but 12 in the second. The Spaniard has to cut down on the errors.

4:04 pm IST: Nadal’s forehand return lands marginally wide and it’s 1-0 to Dimitrov in the third set. It one set all.

4:02 pm IST: Fourteen unforced errors from Grigor Dimitrov in the second set as compared to Rafael Nadal but more importantly he had 14 winners as against Nadal’s 8. It’s 3-6, 7-5 in favour of Dimitrov who will now start the proceedings in the third set. Live score and updates continue here.

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov reaches for a forehand return to Spain's Rafael Nadal during their semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne on Friday. Follow live score and updates of Nadal vs Dimitrov here (AP)

3:57 pm IST: And Dimitrov takes the second set 7-5. Nadal’s backhand return goes wide of the baseline and it’s game on at the Rod Laver Arena! What a gruelling set that was! It’s one set all. What a contest!

3:56 pm IST: And it’s two set points for DImitrov once again. Will he capitalise on the lead this time?

3:51 pm IST: Dimitrov holds serve as Nadal has a backhand forced error. It’s 6-5 in the Bulgarian’s favour. Rafa  Nadal has to hold serve to stay in the set.

3:48 pm IST: Nadal manages to hold serve. It’s 5-5. Dimitrov missed four set points there. Brilliant tennis from Rafa to pull things back

3:41 pm IST: Dimitrov now has a set point.

3:38 pm IST: NADAL BREAKS BACK! Oh boy! The Spaniard just doesn’t let go does he! He had two break points and took it right away. It’s 5-4 in favour of Dimitrov. Rafael Nadal will now serve to stay in the set.

3:37 pm IST: Two break points for Nadal now. That’s the 16th unforced error from Dimitrov! What a set this is turning out to be!

3:34 pm IST: BROKEN BACK! A double fault from Nadal and Dimitrov’s taken the lead right back. It’s 5-3 in the second set in favour of the Bulgarian who will now serve for the set.

3:33 pm IST: Dimitrov with yet another break point. Nadal would be furious with himself to lose three consecutive points.

3:27 pm IST: BROKEN! Nadal went on the advantage with a neat backhand down the line and the Spaniard doesn’t falter this time around. Breaks back in the seventh game. He’ll now serve with the score at 4-3 in Dimitrov’s favour.

3:26 pm IST: Dimitrov with his 10th forehand winner of the match as he saves the break point. It’s deuce in Game 7 in the second set. Nadal breaks back. It’s 3-4, with Nadal to serve!

3:24 pm IST: A break point for Nadal. He’s won 1/2 so far

3:20 pm IST: Two consecutive aces from Nadal as he pulls a game back to keep the score at 4-2 in the second set.

3:17 pm IST: Dimitrov builds on the break. Goes 4-1 up in the second set.

3:15 pm IST: Nadal has already received a warning for taking too long to serve between the points. Adds on to the frustration for the Spaniard who failed to collect a single point on his serve while being broken.

Rafael Nadal slips during his semifinal against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Friday. Catch live tennis score here (AP)

3:13 pm IST: BROKEN! Dimitrov has managed to break Nadal’s serve early on. It’s 3-1 in his favour in the second set

3:12 pm IST: Three break points for Dimitrov

3:08 pm IST: Dominant stuff from Dimitrov. Smashes in the forehand volley to collect the winner. It’s 2-1 in his favour in the second set at the Rod Laver Arena

3:05 pm IST: Nadal holds on to his serve. It’s 1-1

3:00 pm IST: Dimitrov takes the first game of the second set. Good start from the 15th seed. 1-0 to him

2:58 pm IST: Grigor Dimitrov is the first Bulgarian since Tsvetana Pironkova to make it to the last four in a Grand Slam. He will start proceedings in the second set.

2:56 pm IST: Dimitrov will rue those seven unforced errors he committed in the first set besides failing to take advantage of the break points early on.

2:53 pm IST: Rafael Nadal takes the first set 6-3 with a brilliant drop shot. Live tennis action here!

2:50 pm IST: Dimitrov manages to stay alive in the first set. Holds on to his serve. It’s 5-3 in the first set at the Rod Laver Arena. Nadal will now serve for the set.

2:47 pm IST: Dimitrov’s return goes wide. Nadal holds on to his serve and is now just a game away from bagging the opening set. Nadal leads 5-2

2:44 pm IST: Dimitrov holds on to his serve; manages to bridge the gap to 4-2 in the first set.

2:40 pm IST: Nadal storms through to take that fifth game. Holds on to his serve without dropping a point and it’s 4-1 in his favour at the Rod Laver Arena

2:38 pm IST: BROKEN! Dimitrov saved a break point with an ace but fails to save the second and it’s 3-1 in favour of the Spaniard in the first set.

2:37 pm IST: Two break points for Nadal in the fourth game. It’s 2-1 in favour of the Spaniard

2:33 pm IST: A brilliant forehand from Nadal as he holds serve and goes 2-1 up in the first set. Live updates of Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov here.

2:30 pm IST: Dimitrov holds his serve with an ace. Didn’t drop a single point in the game. It’s 1-1 in the 1st set at the Rod Laver Arena

2:26 pm IST: Nadal takes the first game. Holds on to his serve well after being down 15-40 at one stage. It’s 1-0 in his favour in the first set

2:23 pm IST: Nadal saves the second break point as well. It’s deuce in the first game

2:22 pm IST: Nadal manages to save a break point but it’s 30-40 against his favour in the first game

2:21 pm IST: Dimitrov with two break points in the very first game.

2:10 pm IST: Dimitrov has a 16-6 win-loss record in Australian Open. Nadal has a 50-10 win-loss record.

2:06 pm IST: “I have straighter priorities right now. I know what I want from myself as soon as I come to a tournament,” Nadal has said. “I come on the court. I’m just happy to try to find a way, even if things are not going my way.” We will find out today.

2:05 pm IST: The players are out on the court now .

2:02 pm IST: It was in the Australian Open three years back when the two last met in a Grand Slam. Nadal, the runner-up then, had won the match in four sets.

2:01 pm IST: Hard work has been central to the latter part of Nadal’s career, particularly as knee and wrist injuries forced him to miss large chunks of recent seasons. Will his body hold up today?

1:56 pm IST: Dimitrov, who is yet to lose a match in 2017, is on a 10-match unbeaten streak.

1:54 pm IST: If he wins against Dimitrov, Nadal will join Novak Djokovic in the second spot in the all-time list for most Grand Slam finals reached. The evergreen Roger Federer leads the list with 28.

1:50 pm IST: Meanwhile, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova have beaten Andrea Hlavackova-Shuai Peng 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 to win the women’s doubles crown.

1:46 pm IST: Dimitrov has won the most recent encounter between the two in the China Open quarterfinals in Beijing last October.

1:36 pm IST: With nicknames like “Primetime” and “BabyFed”, Grigor Dimitrov has had to deal with the kind of hype and expectation usually reserved for the likes of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. Can he live up to this reputation today? Catch live tennis of Australian Open men’s singles semis between Nadal vs Dimitrov here.

1:09 pm IST: Rafael Nadal has a 7-1 win-loss record against Grigor Dimitrov. Nadal will start as the favourite today.

PREVIEW

Grigor Dimitrov seemed to be on the right track when he beat Andy Murray at Wimbledon in 2014 to reach the semi-finals and broke into the top 10 for the first time. (Read: Sania Mirza-Ivan Dodig in mixed doubles final)

His relationship with former women’s world number one Maria Sharapova seemed to be working wonders for him on the court but when the pair split in the middle of 2015, after two years together, Dimitrov lost his way.

In July last year, the 25-year-old Grigor Dimitrov dropped to 40th in the rankings but his decision to hire Dani Vallverdu, Murray’s former coach, sparked a resurgence.

But Dimitrov is up against a champion whose passion and resilience has been one of the high points in this year’s Australian Open.

After being bundled out in the first round by compatriot Fernando Verdasco last year, Rafael Nadal has reached his fifth semi-final at Melbourne Park in a remarkable turnaround for the 14-times grand slam winner.

A barren 2016 saw Rafael Nadal fail to reach at least one grand slam final for the first time since 2004 and while he won Olympic doubles gold at the Rio Games a troubling wrist injury forced him to call time on his season in early October.

Questions were being raised as to whether he still had the physicality and game to match the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Warwinka and the evergreen Roger Federer, as well as the new generation coming through.

The last three rounds at Melbourne Park have answered those questions decisively as Nadal beat 24th seed Alexander Zverev in five sets, sixth seed Gael Monfils in four, then outclassed third seed Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.