Federer beat Nadal for the third time this year, winning 6-3, 6-4 in a 94-minute match.
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - Roger Federer is playing so well this year he's even dominating his longtime nemesis, Rafael Nadal. His win at the Australian Open came in a phenomenal five set match against Rafael Nadal. Nadal's semifinal match against Fabio Fognini was rather straightforward, while Federer's win over Nick Kyrgios was as drama-packed as it gets.
The pair traded break points relentlessly - there were 10 inside the first eight games - with Federer finally taking the last in that run.
Kyrgios showcased the talent that has at times been overshadowed by his behaviour on-court and there was no sign of any disinterest, which has been an accusation aimed at him in the past.
Australian Kyrgios, who has twice beaten Novak Djokovic over the last month, left his racket a twisted heap on the court after coming up short in a battle against the former world number one and a partisan crowd. Before the final in the Australian Open, the duo had met in the final of the Swiss Indoors in December 2015 and it was Federer who had pevailed in the match.
Both players have qualified for the final in contrasting fashion as Federer had to toil hard in the semifinal while Nadal won the semi-final in straight sets.
7-6 (7-5) to take his 2017 record to 18 wins and one defeat. Nadal will be playing in the tournament for the 13th time and this makes his longest title drought at any event. "Hopefully I will not have to wait three more years to be in that position fighting again for a title".
There were equal chants of "Vamos, Rafa!" as "Go Roger!" and late in the second half, the Federer fans sang: "Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!"
"That's a long time ago". Federer and Nadal are taking advantage of the situation and pulling up their socks to get back in the race to reach the most coveted position on the charts.
"Winning here would be something great, and an important title I haven't won."
It was a turning point in my career to be honest, because to be able to focus for maybe four hours, smashing forehands down the line.
Fourth seed Federer survived a series of early scares in a tight first set, and it was he who eventually made his move in the eighth game to convert a break point at the third attempt and give himself a chance to serve for it. Fognini, the first unseeded men's semifinalist since 2007, looked listless at the start in 86-degree sunshine. He played terrific defense, robbing Nadal's groundstrokes of their power, and finished with 30 winners to only 17 unforced errors. May the better player win!
There was plenty of tension in the match-deciding tie-breaker, where Federer saved match point before Berdych lost on a double-fault. The No. 5 seed had no problem serving out the match one game later.
Nadal improved to 19-4 this year and leads the men's tour in wins.
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