Sue Barker introduces highlights of the second men's semi-final, where Rafael Nadal faces Grigor Dimitrov. Commentary by Andrew Castle and John Lloyd.
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The match-up Roger Rafa? One of the most watchable sportsmen on the
planet. Rafa rules in Melbourne. I have a
feeling that the winner of this Australian Open will be a player who
never won the Grand Slam before. His magic and his racket. Not many
people can hit those type of shots. Dimitrov is the champion at Queen's.
It is either going to be a throwback to the past or a glimpse into the
future as the former king Rafael Nadal takes on the young pretender
25 your old Grigor Dimitrov. Few would have predicted this the start
of the Championship hummer but this tournament has been one full of
surprises and incredible stories. Dimitrov is on a ten match winning
streak down under, and if that is going to continue and he will go on
to take his first Grand Slam title, he will have to beat the two legends
looking down on him in this corridor of former champions, Rafa and then
Roger, arguably the two greatest ever. Federer is already through,
can Nadal make it the dream final everyone is hoping for? Quite a
welcome, and those who were in their seats early were in retreat, the
tennis was scintillating from the first point. Dimitrov had a couple
of break once in that first game, but Rafa held on. We join it was
Dimitrov serving at 1-2 down. Vallverdu, formerly with Andy
Murray, now working with Dimitrov. He has seen his man defeat three top
ten players this month in Australia, and now another one being faced, and
break points down. Not good enough on the approach.
SUE BARKER: Nadal looking like a man who means business. Here he is
serving 1-2 down in the second set. COMMENTATOR: Top quality match,
this, whether it goes the distance or not.
That's what Vallverdu wants. Go to the forehand, hopefully get a short
ball, and then pot it down the backhand, but only go into that
backhand when you feel like you can win the point on it. He is so good
down the backhand side, it is an interesting tactic. A couple of
points around the forehand, given the chance to get that, Nadal so
far, his legs has been so good. That one was just a little bit short.
That is so good, so good. Previously only ever seen Djokovic technically
strong enough, and then Murray, to go to the Nadal forehand as a setup
for the attack, but I think others have learned from that, and have
tried to employ it. Dimitrov is doing that today. He does leave more
space on that side, but he does move so well.
That is interesting, and finally, to be honest, it's right.
It is when you hit the ball. The clap by Vallverdu. Quite right, too.
Average time between serve points, look at that. It is unacceptable. It
is unacceptable from both, actually. Tends to happen in these cases. The
umpire gives a warning early on, and then as the match progresses again,
almost nervous about giving a second one. It is a big point here, three
break points. Relentless pressure in this game from Dimitrov.
And he has broken to love in the second set. Some symmetry with the
first. SUE BARKER: So, Nadal is broken for
the first time. There were three more breaks in the set, and Dimitrov
had his chances, with four set point at 5-4, but Rafa held firm, so here
is Nadal serving once again to stay in the set at 5-6.
ANDREW CASTLE: For the second time, Nadal serves to stay in this second
set. He has saved four set point already.
These two players have played eight times, it was 7-1, but last time
with Nadal struggling with that wrist injury, Dimitrov picked up his
only victory, 6-2, 6-4. Hard to believe this man was ranked
at number 40 in the world at one point, last year. Number 15 now. He
could go to number six with a win, but he will have to get through
Nadal and beat Federer to get there. Nadal has done it all before.
UMPIRE: Net, first service. Dimitrov White liked his return. --
quite liked. Oh, this is amazing! That first
volley, you might have thought it was enough. This is the triple lock,
the approach was unbelievable, the volley of the first one was good.
He's like a cat out to the right, there is the approach, there is the
volley, and there is the stretch, just glorious.
Oh, this is wonderful. We are one set all in this Australian Open
semifinal, the prize, to play Federer in Sunday's final. That was
one hour. Well done to Grigor Dimitrov.
SUE BARKER: The tennis gets better and better. Dimitrov levels the
match at one set all, and there is nothing between them in the third
set. It would be decided on a tie-break.
JOHN LLOYD: Federer awaits in the final. They have only played two
tie-breaks, Nadal won both of them. And it was a pivotal third set
tie-break in that quarterfinal, I remember.
Nadal took the two sets to one lead, it was a 9-7 break.
Well set up, down that line again. He put Dimitrov out of position, and
then that gorgeous forehand crosscourt. This is the winning
shot, again, the backhand down the line, he gets that shot so well.
Nadal clearly hadn't looked up. Greg or was in the second row in disguise
waiting to pick-up that overhead. Here he is, look. We would see him
in the far corner, he is over there, Nadal hasn't seen him in the far
corner, he just pops up from behind the timing clock! He snuck behind
the ball boy! What a return of serve. Dimitrov,
quick hands, always has had. A little bit of inspiration. To go 5-2
down would have been mountainous the Dimitrov to come back. Back on
serve. It is just too good from Nadal,
isn't it? Relentless. The kitchen sink was coming at him, he just
turned it around. Sheer lung capacity as well as the racket head
speed from Nadal, probing, pushing. And eventually, just too much for
Dimitrov, who loses his technique. Still panting hard after that long
rally, heart rate comes down now. Simply got to break one of these
Nadal service points. Otherwise he is two set you back to one down.
What an opportunity there. Just snatched at that ball. Inside the
cervix box -- service box, just smash at that one.
He just comes up the back instead of through, it was just nervous.
Oh, he has just pulled it wide! Such a great rally. Attack, defence,
intensity on both sides. And this one has just got a little bit of
side spin on it to go with the top-spin, I think he has dragged it.
Yes, wide, so set point Nadal. UMPIRE: 6-5, Nadal.
CHEERING Nadal wins the third set tie-break,
and an absolute corker it was. We are a step closer to a Sunday final
involving Federer and Nadal. That can't be a bad thing, unless you are
a big Grigor Dimitrov fan. SUE BARKER: So, Nadal just needs one
more set for a place in his 21st Grand Slam final. There were no
break points for either player in the fourth set, so here we are in
another tie-break. JOHN LLOYD: Nadal maybe got to him a
bit there, but he had plenty of time on that forehand. He got rounded
well, just got the angle wrong. UMPIRE: Nadal is challenging the
call on the left side. Pretty confident here, but one was
out. He knew it was going past him, he didn't stop, did he?
It was travelling fast. Oh, the edge.
UMPIRE: Nadal has three challenges remaining.
Fair enough, if he is going to do that to you. Didn't quite mean to go
that close. This is hitting of the highest
calibre. He has been a man over the years who
has been known to see the inside of a nightclub or two, and you wonder
whether he has done the training, Dimitrov, put the timing, laid the
rubber down on the court, but clearly he has.
Toe to toe with one of the great sluggers of the game.
What a tie-break this is turning out to be.
Beautiful return of serve. What length.
Easy to take your eye off the ball on these high forehand volleys, just
had to shuffle to his left. And make room for the racket into the open
space. Reception for both men as they change ends. Worthy of this
wonderful tennis match. So many times, Dimitrov could have got away.
5-2, two points away from a fifth set.
They have played three tie-breaks, these two, and Dimitrov hasn't won
one. So quick to seize his opportunity,
taking the short ball in, another high put away volley. Three set
points, the first two on his own serve.
First serve- volley of the match, and he does it there, at that time.
Very strange there. A sitting duck after the return had
set this up, but Nadal, to his credit, still had to find the
target. And this time it is Dimitrov who
find the target, big serve down the middle. They are going the distance
for the right to play Roger Federer in Sunday's final, and who's to say
Dimitrov isn't going to be the first Bulgarian into one of these Major
finals. SUE BARKER: Dimitrov levels again as
he bids to become the first Bulgarian player, man or woman, to
reach a Grand Slam final. So, onto the decider, the fifth set, we join
it at 3-3. Emitter of is currently waiting to
serve at 3-3 in the fifth. -- Dimitrov is waiting. We didn't have
the stopwatch on it, but that has to be a minute, doesn't it? Definitely.
It is 20 seconds between points. Fine if it doesn't affect an
opponent, I always say that. If it is the natural flow of the match,
then fine, but Dimitrov has been noticing, and Dani Vallverdu
coaching Dimitrov has been suggesting to the umpire that he put
a watch on it. Nobody would question the spirit
between these two sportsmen. Or that Rafah is trying to gain any sort of
unfair advantage. Rules is rules. Hammering each other for
four-and-a-half hours here. A second semi-final goes the distance. This
is rivalling Super Saturday in 84 at the US Open with the women's final
in between. Oh. He was thinking about the smash,
I think. Yeah. It's that go to 30-30 serve again. Superb. Wasn't quite
high enough for the Rover overhead. Watched his volley carefully, didn't
he? Yes. No problem. He's working the ribs. He is looking
to get around the back and get into the kidneys. Working the backhand of
Dimitrov. That is where the errors are coming from. If you can really
call that an error. The forehand has been awesome. Both sides have.
This is just... It's unbelievable, isn't it. Four half hours after they
started. The start of the match was just like this the pace has been
amazing. The concentration, admirable.
Strong start to the game. Good foot work from Dimitrov. Making room for
his forehand. That's away. That's just gone away
with the spin. Slightly reversed that forehand. Came across it. Grave
danger now for Rafael Nadal. Shouldn't be missing that. He will
be thinking he should not be missing that. That's a fairly
straight-forward rallying ball, if there is such a thing after four
hours and 40 minutes. Yes, indeed. The return was
phenomenal. He got his forehand in to play. The overhead, well, it had
to go away. It wasn't easy. Bent that backhand and curled it in. Then
took over with the forehand. This was not an easy overhead,
considering the importance of the point and the length of the match.
Snapped it away. This is right up there with his 2012
final, isn't it, with Djokovic. That was almost six hours of this. It was
phenomenal. Another break point to save, though.
Which he does. How quick was he there? Ridiculous.
Break point, taken away in a flash. Brilliance from Nadal. That didn't
last long. Look at those stats at the net.
That's ridiculous. The game without Federer and the game without Nadal,
as we've had to put up with more than we wanted, I mean this is why
you miss them. Just brilliant. Nothing Dimitrov
could do? No he didn't do anything wrong there. No, that was all Rafah.
That was aggressive. Taking the ball on. It was the one at 30/40 that was
so outrageous. That's a body blow again to Dimitrov. The first couple
of points here, big. The crowd are 50/50, rightly. They just want to
keep going on, don't they? No tie-break, fifth set. Australian
Open, let's go! What are you going to do, five
points in a row now? Yes. From break point down. He's done nothing wrong
with those five points. Absolutely nothing. Just a laser beam. Outside
edge, curling back in. OK, can he go again? He's wisely
taking a lot of time here. He has to regroup. Put those two points out of
the way. Visualise where he's going to serve this ball. Not there.
Oh, I cannot believe he's missed that. Off a second serve, from
Dimitrov. That's a great effort from him. Away. -- yeah.
What a forehand, Dimitrov. Again and again. You think he's going to go
away but, no. Couldn't get deep enough in this rally. He was trying.
All credit to Dimitrov, again. Faith in that forehand.
For that to go out, from that netball. That's tough.
Oh! Dimitrov came in on the forehand side. Nadal punishes him and he's a
game away. We thought many times with knee
injuries and with his wrist and everything that he might be lost to
the game. But he keeps on coming back. The Producing matches like
this. Both of them have produced this. One game away for this, for a
place in the fine l, against Roger Federer, who would have thought.
Four points is a long way. Breaking new ground, Grigor
Dimitrov. Herculean effort. Is the resistance gone? Has Nadal broken
him, as he's broken so many? Hold on. Always been brilliant.
Always entertaining. Always great company on and off the court. We're
seeing a new Grigor Dimitrov. He's a new Dimitrov for this year.
Wonderful. It's going to be a great journey.
He's got it. Oh. Scampering from side to side.
Still moving like it's 1-1 in the first set. Fantastic dipping
forehand. That's called good. He says ace. The
line judge called it out. It's corrected. Is this an ace. Wonderful
change of direction. Brilliant piece of match play from Nadal. You see
Dimitrov moving. That is the match play. Nadal is unreal, isn't he?
That is the moment for that serve. You can't teach that.
Match point. Brilliant piece of work from Rafah.
Oh. Are you kidding. How deep was that lob? Hands up if you thought
that an earlier ground stroke was going out? You thought it was over.
Me too. One of the best matches of all-time,
here. It's wide. It's been brilliant
serving. It's not aces. Over 70% for the whole match, location serving,
isn't it? Right place, right time. Well he was unlucky with Dimitrov
with a the net in a previous came, where his forehand skipped long. He
was lucky with this one where Nadal's skipped short. Yep.
That serve, again. Three straight first serves to the deuce court, and
he's been rewarded. Ace, missed return, missed return on that side.
Third match point. It's long! Is there a challenge or
no? Nadal, down. Five hours of magnificence. Both players, Dimitrov
superb. Nadal unbelievable, unreal. Nadal a chance to step into the slam
winner's circle on Sunday, again. He's not thinking of Sunday and a
35th match with Federer now. Can you describe your emotions
throughout that fifth set when you had the early chances and it was
complicated at the end? Well, difficult to describe emotions. Now,
first of all, I was tired, and Grigor Dimitrov was playing
unbelievable. It was a great match. APPLAUSE
I feel very happy now to be part of it. I enjoy it a lot. The crowd was
just amazing. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Many, many thanks for that huge support. Both weeks have been
unforgettable weeks for me. Just, you know, qualifying for the final
in a match like this means a lot to me. You will play your great long
time rival, Roger Federer, in the final. What do you expect from that
one? We are all thrilled. We have seen so many amazing matches from
you guys. We get a chance to experience it
again. What's it like from your perspective to get to play Roger in
a major final again? First of all, I hope to recover well. And then, you
know, for me it's a privilege. It's a very special thing, I think for
both of us, to be in the final of a Major again. Have another chance to
compete against each other after a couple of years having some
problems. I think both of us never thought we would be here again in
the final of Australia. We feel, I think, very happy and I hope you
feel happy, too. I assure you, that we all feel lucky to get a chance to
see you guys doing it. Let the recovery begin. Go get some rest.
You certainly have earned it. Ladies and gentlemen, he's Rafael Nadal and
he's back in the final against. Rafah is through. We have the dream
final. You will be able to see on Sunday on BBC Two at 1.00pm or live
on 5 Live. Roger talked about his friend and rival after his
semi-final victory yesterday. Rafah has presented me with the biggest
challenge in the game. I think I played him too many times on clay
early my career. That had something to do with the way I played him on
different surfaces, too. This court allows me to play offensive. I mean,
I'm probably his number one fan of Rafah. I think his game is
tremendous. Incredible competitor. I'm happy we have had epic battles
over the years. Of course, it would be unreal to play here I think both
of us would have never thought we would be here potentially playing in
the finals. I went to open his academy with him
a few months back I told him - I wish we could do a charity match or
something... But I was on one leg, he had the wrist injury. We were
playing some mini ten in as with Junors and we were like, "this is
the best we can do right now." It's special for both of us. I think I
hope he has a good match tomorrow. I'm glad Roger is surprised. No-one
would have predicted this final four months ago? Impossible. We thought
would Roger be back after all the months in a Grand Slam final the
answer robibly no. Rafah, with all his injuries, the answer, no. Here
they are. Quite amazing. What about that match today, five sets, five
hours of glorious tennis, wasn't it? One of the best matches I've seen.
It answered a number of things. Firstly, about Rafah, that he's back
and he's back to, I think, the tennis he was playing when he was
dominating. He was that good. He came up against someone, Grigor
Dimitrov, lieu being a the him now, OK,, this match you think he is
going to win a Grand Slam. Bfrp we thought he was. He was very Brittle
when it came to the Grand Slams and went away. He is not going away any
more. I can't wait to see him for the rest of the year. Particularly
at Wimbledon. He has it all now. It took a great Rafael Nadal to just
sneak through it, and what a match. I think, Grigor Dimitrov proved a
lot to himself as much as everybody else. Rafael Nadal, do they still
have that match playing instinct. It's never gone, has it? The big
points he played so well? The two break points in the fifth when it
looked like he was going out. He went after it. Took chances. Hit two
big forehands. Got the break points back and then the rest was history.
He came through when it came down to it. The crunch points he played
better and bigger. The big issue, the recovery. Will he be recovered
from Sunday. The men's final is on Sunday. Tomorrow the Williams
sisters at 1.15pm on BBC One and live on 5 Live. They have 60 Grand
Slam titles between them. It's like going back in time. Goodbye.
# Those days are all gone now # But one thing is true
# When I look and I find # I still love you... #
Sue Barker introduces highlights of the second men's semi-final, where Rafael Nadal faces Grigor Dimitrov.
Great Britain's Andy Murray had to come through an epic five-set battle with Milos Raonic in 2016 to reach his fifth Australian Open final.
Commentary by Andrew Castle and John Lloyd.