Men's Second Semi-Final Australian Open Tennis


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Men's Second Semi-Final

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

:00:38.:00:46.

planet. Rafa rules in Melbourne. I have a

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feeling that the winner of this Australian Open will be a player who

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never won the Grand Slam before. His magic and his racket. Not many

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people can hit those type of shots. Dimitrov is the champion at Queen's.

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It is either going to be a throwback to the past or a glimpse into the

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future as the former king Rafael Nadal takes on the young pretender

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25 your old Grigor Dimitrov. Few would have predicted this the start

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of the Championship hummer but this tournament has been one full of

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surprises and incredible stories. Dimitrov is on a ten match winning

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streak down under, and if that is going to continue and he will go on

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to take his first Grand Slam title, he will have to beat the two legends

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looking down on him in this corridor of former champions, Rafa and then

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Roger, arguably the two greatest ever. Federer is already through,

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can Nadal make it the dream final everyone is hoping for? Quite a

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welcome, and those who were in their seats early were in retreat, the

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tennis was scintillating from the first point. Dimitrov had a couple

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of break once in that first game, but Rafa held on. We join it was

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Dimitrov serving at 1-2 down. Vallverdu, formerly with Andy

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Murray, now working with Dimitrov. He has seen his man defeat three top

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ten players this month in Australia, and now another one being faced, and

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break points down. Not good enough on the approach.

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SUE BARKER: Nadal looking like a man who means business. Here he is

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serving 1-2 down in the second set. COMMENTATOR: Top quality match,

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this, whether it goes the distance or not.

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That's what Vallverdu wants. Go to the forehand, hopefully get a short

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ball, and then pot it down the backhand, but only go into that

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backhand when you feel like you can win the point on it. He is so good

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down the backhand side, it is an interesting tactic. A couple of

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points around the forehand, given the chance to get that, Nadal so

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far, his legs has been so good. That one was just a little bit short.

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That is so good, so good. Previously only ever seen Djokovic technically

:06:31.:06:41.

strong enough, and then Murray, to go to the Nadal forehand as a setup

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for the attack, but I think others have learned from that, and have

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tried to employ it. Dimitrov is doing that today. He does leave more

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space on that side, but he does move so well.

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That is interesting, and finally, to be honest, it's right.

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It is when you hit the ball. The clap by Vallverdu. Quite right, too.

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Average time between serve points, look at that. It is unacceptable. It

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is unacceptable from both, actually. Tends to happen in these cases. The

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umpire gives a warning early on, and then as the match progresses again,

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almost nervous about giving a second one. It is a big point here, three

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break points. Relentless pressure in this game from Dimitrov.

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And he has broken to love in the second set. Some symmetry with the

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first. SUE BARKER: So, Nadal is broken for

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the first time. There were three more breaks in the set, and Dimitrov

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had his chances, with four set point at 5-4, but Rafa held firm, so here

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is Nadal serving once again to stay in the set at 5-6.

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ANDREW CASTLE: For the second time, Nadal serves to stay in this second

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set. He has saved four set point already.

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These two players have played eight times, it was 7-1, but last time

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with Nadal struggling with that wrist injury, Dimitrov picked up his

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only victory, 6-2, 6-4. Hard to believe this man was ranked

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at number 40 in the world at one point, last year. Number 15 now. He

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could go to number six with a win, but he will have to get through

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Nadal and beat Federer to get there. Nadal has done it all before.

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UMPIRE: Net, first service. Dimitrov White liked his return. --

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quite liked. Oh, this is amazing! That first

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volley, you might have thought it was enough. This is the triple lock,

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the approach was unbelievable, the volley of the first one was good.

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He's like a cat out to the right, there is the approach, there is the

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volley, and there is the stretch, just glorious.

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Oh, this is wonderful. We are one set all in this Australian Open

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semifinal, the prize, to play Federer in Sunday's final. That was

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one hour. Well done to Grigor Dimitrov.

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SUE BARKER: The tennis gets better and better. Dimitrov levels the

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match at one set all, and there is nothing between them in the third

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set. It would be decided on a tie-break.

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JOHN LLOYD: Federer awaits in the final. They have only played two

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tie-breaks, Nadal won both of them. And it was a pivotal third set

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tie-break in that quarterfinal, I remember.

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Nadal took the two sets to one lead, it was a 9-7 break.

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Well set up, down that line again. He put Dimitrov out of position, and

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then that gorgeous forehand crosscourt. This is the winning

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shot, again, the backhand down the line, he gets that shot so well.

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Nadal clearly hadn't looked up. Greg or was in the second row in disguise

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waiting to pick-up that overhead. Here he is, look. We would see him

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in the far corner, he is over there, Nadal hasn't seen him in the far

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corner, he just pops up from behind the timing clock! He snuck behind

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the ball boy! What a return of serve. Dimitrov,

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quick hands, always has had. A little bit of inspiration. To go 5-2

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down would have been mountainous the Dimitrov to come back. Back on

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serve. It is just too good from Nadal,

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isn't it? Relentless. The kitchen sink was coming at him, he just

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turned it around. Sheer lung capacity as well as the racket head

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speed from Nadal, probing, pushing. And eventually, just too much for

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Dimitrov, who loses his technique. Still panting hard after that long

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rally, heart rate comes down now. Simply got to break one of these

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Nadal service points. Otherwise he is two set you back to one down.

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What an opportunity there. Just snatched at that ball. Inside the

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cervix box -- service box, just smash at that one.

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He just comes up the back instead of through, it was just nervous.

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Oh, he has just pulled it wide! Such a great rally. Attack, defence,

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intensity on both sides. And this one has just got a little bit of

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side spin on it to go with the top-spin, I think he has dragged it.

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Yes, wide, so set point Nadal. UMPIRE: 6-5, Nadal.

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CHEERING Nadal wins the third set tie-break,

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and an absolute corker it was. We are a step closer to a Sunday final

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involving Federer and Nadal. That can't be a bad thing, unless you are

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a big Grigor Dimitrov fan. SUE BARKER: So, Nadal just needs one

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more set for a place in his 21st Grand Slam final. There were no

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break points for either player in the fourth set, so here we are in

:21:47.:21:48.

another tie-break. JOHN LLOYD: Nadal maybe got to him a

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bit there, but he had plenty of time on that forehand. He got rounded

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well, just got the angle wrong. UMPIRE: Nadal is challenging the

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call on the left side. Pretty confident here, but one was

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out. He knew it was going past him, he didn't stop, did he?

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It was travelling fast. Oh, the edge.

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UMPIRE: Nadal has three challenges remaining.

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Fair enough, if he is going to do that to you. Didn't quite mean to go

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that close. This is hitting of the highest

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calibre. He has been a man over the years who

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has been known to see the inside of a nightclub or two, and you wonder

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whether he has done the training, Dimitrov, put the timing, laid the

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rubber down on the court, but clearly he has.

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Toe to toe with one of the great sluggers of the game.

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What a tie-break this is turning out to be.

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Beautiful return of serve. What length.

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Easy to take your eye off the ball on these high forehand volleys, just

:26:14.:26:23.

had to shuffle to his left. And make room for the racket into the open

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space. Reception for both men as they change ends. Worthy of this

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wonderful tennis match. So many times, Dimitrov could have got away.

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5-2, two points away from a fifth set.

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They have played three tie-breaks, these two, and Dimitrov hasn't won

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one. So quick to seize his opportunity,

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taking the short ball in, another high put away volley. Three set

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points, the first two on his own serve.

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First serve- volley of the match, and he does it there, at that time.

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Very strange there. A sitting duck after the return had

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set this up, but Nadal, to his credit, still had to find the

:29:12.:29:12.

target. And this time it is Dimitrov who

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find the target, big serve down the middle. They are going the distance

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for the right to play Roger Federer in Sunday's final, and who's to say

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Dimitrov isn't going to be the first Bulgarian into one of these Major

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finals. SUE BARKER: Dimitrov levels again as

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he bids to become the first Bulgarian player, man or woman, to

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reach a Grand Slam final. So, onto the decider, the fifth set, we join

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it at 3-3. Emitter of is currently waiting to

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serve at 3-3 in the fifth. -- Dimitrov is waiting. We didn't have

:30:02.:30:05.

the stopwatch on it, but that has to be a minute, doesn't it? Definitely.

:30:06.:30:15.

It is 20 seconds between points. Fine if it doesn't affect an

:30:16.:30:18.

opponent, I always say that. If it is the natural flow of the match,

:30:19.:30:24.

then fine, but Dimitrov has been noticing, and Dani Vallverdu

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coaching Dimitrov has been suggesting to the umpire that he put

:30:30.:30:31.

a watch on it. Nobody would question the spirit

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between these two sportsmen. Or that Rafah is trying to gain any sort of

:31:01.:31:06.

unfair advantage. Rules is rules. Hammering each other for

:31:07.:31:23.

four-and-a-half hours here. A second semi-final goes the distance. This

:31:24.:31:30.

is rivalling Super Saturday in 84 at the US Open with the women's final

:31:31.:31:36.

in between. Oh. He was thinking about the smash,

:31:37.:32:23.

I think. Yeah. It's that go to 30-30 serve again. Superb. Wasn't quite

:32:24.:32:31.

high enough for the Rover overhead. Watched his volley carefully, didn't

:32:32.:32:32.

he? Yes. No problem. He's working the ribs. He is looking

:32:33.:32:59.

to get around the back and get into the kidneys. Working the backhand of

:33:00.:33:05.

Dimitrov. That is where the errors are coming from. If you can really

:33:06.:33:10.

call that an error. The forehand has been awesome. Both sides have.

:33:11.:33:53.

This is just... It's unbelievable, isn't it. Four half hours after they

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started. The start of the match was just like this the pace has been

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amazing. The concentration, admirable.

:34:11.:34:51.

Strong start to the game. Good foot work from Dimitrov. Making room for

:34:52.:34:55.

his forehand. That's away. That's just gone away

:34:56.:35:26.

with the spin. Slightly reversed that forehand. Came across it. Grave

:35:27.:35:33.

danger now for Rafael Nadal. Shouldn't be missing that. He will

:35:34.:36:11.

be thinking he should not be missing that. That's a fairly

:36:12.:36:16.

straight-forward rallying ball, if there is such a thing after four

:36:17.:36:19.

hours and 40 minutes. Yes, indeed. The return was

:36:20.:36:57.

phenomenal. He got his forehand in to play. The overhead, well, it had

:36:58.:37:07.

to go away. It wasn't easy. Bent that backhand and curled it in. Then

:37:08.:37:12.

took over with the forehand. This was not an easy overhead,

:37:13.:37:16.

considering the importance of the point and the length of the match.

:37:17.:37:18.

Snapped it away. This is right up there with his 2012

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final, isn't it, with Djokovic. That was almost six hours of this. It was

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phenomenal. Another break point to save, though.

:38:16.:38:24.

Which he does. How quick was he there? Ridiculous.

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Break point, taken away in a flash. Brilliance from Nadal. That didn't

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last long. Look at those stats at the net.

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That's ridiculous. The game without Federer and the game without Nadal,

:39:24.:39:29.

as we've had to put up with more than we wanted, I mean this is why

:39:30.:39:30.

you miss them. Just brilliant. Nothing Dimitrov

:39:31.:39:57.

could do? No he didn't do anything wrong there. No, that was all Rafah.

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That was aggressive. Taking the ball on. It was the one at 30/40 that was

:40:02.:40:15.

so outrageous. That's a body blow again to Dimitrov. The first couple

:40:16.:40:25.

of points here, big. The crowd are 50/50, rightly. They just want to

:40:26.:40:31.

keep going on, don't they? No tie-break, fifth set. Australian

:40:32.:40:34.

Open, let's go! What are you going to do, five

:40:35.:40:52.

points in a row now? Yes. From break point down. He's done nothing wrong

:40:53.:40:59.

with those five points. Absolutely nothing. Just a laser beam. Outside

:41:00.:41:05.

edge, curling back in. OK, can he go again? He's wisely

:41:06.:41:42.

taking a lot of time here. He has to regroup. Put those two points out of

:41:43.:41:51.

the way. Visualise where he's going to serve this ball. Not there.

:41:52.:42:15.

Oh, I cannot believe he's missed that. Off a second serve, from

:42:16.:42:22.

Dimitrov. That's a great effort from him. Away. -- yeah.

:42:23.:42:56.

What a forehand, Dimitrov. Again and again. You think he's going to go

:42:57.:43:06.

away but, no. Couldn't get deep enough in this rally. He was trying.

:43:07.:43:10.

All credit to Dimitrov, again. Faith in that forehand.

:43:11.:43:47.

For that to go out, from that netball. That's tough.

:43:48.:44:25.

Oh! Dimitrov came in on the forehand side. Nadal punishes him and he's a

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game away. We thought many times with knee

:44:35.:44:58.

injuries and with his wrist and everything that he might be lost to

:44:59.:45:04.

the game. But he keeps on coming back. The Producing matches like

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this. Both of them have produced this. One game away for this, for a

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place in the fine l, against Roger Federer, who would have thought.

:45:18.:45:18.

Four points is a long way. Breaking new ground, Grigor

:45:19.:46:42.

Dimitrov. Herculean effort. Is the resistance gone? Has Nadal broken

:46:43.:46:45.

him, as he's broken so many? Hold on. Always been brilliant.

:46:46.:47:14.

Always entertaining. Always great company on and off the court. We're

:47:15.:47:23.

seeing a new Grigor Dimitrov. He's a new Dimitrov for this year.

:47:24.:47:27.

Wonderful. It's going to be a great journey.

:47:28.:47:41.

He's got it. Oh. Scampering from side to side.

:47:42.:47:58.

Still moving like it's 1-1 in the first set. Fantastic dipping

:47:59.:48:01.

forehand. That's called good. He says ace. The

:48:02.:48:32.

line judge called it out. It's corrected. Is this an ace. Wonderful

:48:33.:48:37.

change of direction. Brilliant piece of match play from Nadal. You see

:48:38.:48:41.

Dimitrov moving. That is the match play. Nadal is unreal, isn't he?

:48:42.:48:46.

That is the moment for that serve. You can't teach that.

:48:47.:48:53.

Match point. Brilliant piece of work from Rafah.

:48:54.:49:38.

Oh. Are you kidding. How deep was that lob? Hands up if you thought

:49:39.:49:47.

that an earlier ground stroke was going out? You thought it was over.

:49:48.:49:50.

Me too. One of the best matches of all-time,

:49:51.:49:57.

here. It's wide. It's been brilliant

:49:58.:50:32.

serving. It's not aces. Over 70% for the whole match, location serving,

:50:33.:50:35.

isn't it? Right place, right time. Well he was unlucky with Dimitrov

:50:36.:51:12.

with a the net in a previous came, where his forehand skipped long. He

:51:13.:51:19.

was lucky with this one where Nadal's skipped short. Yep.

:51:20.:51:31.

That serve, again. Three straight first serves to the deuce court, and

:51:32.:52:02.

he's been rewarded. Ace, missed return, missed return on that side.

:52:03.:52:04.

Third match point. It's long! Is there a challenge or

:52:05.:52:44.

no? Nadal, down. Five hours of magnificence. Both players, Dimitrov

:52:45.:52:48.

superb. Nadal unbelievable, unreal. Nadal a chance to step into the slam

:52:49.:53:10.

winner's circle on Sunday, again. He's not thinking of Sunday and a

:53:11.:53:12.

35th match with Federer now. Can you describe your emotions

:53:13.:53:34.

throughout that fifth set when you had the early chances and it was

:53:35.:53:42.

complicated at the end? Well, difficult to describe emotions. Now,

:53:43.:53:50.

first of all, I was tired, and Grigor Dimitrov was playing

:53:51.:53:58.

unbelievable. It was a great match. APPLAUSE

:53:59.:54:02.

I feel very happy now to be part of it. I enjoy it a lot. The crowd was

:54:03.:54:08.

just amazing. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

:54:09.:54:14.

Many, many thanks for that huge support. Both weeks have been

:54:15.:54:23.

unforgettable weeks for me. Just, you know, qualifying for the final

:54:24.:54:26.

in a match like this means a lot to me. You will play your great long

:54:27.:54:30.

time rival, Roger Federer, in the final. What do you expect from that

:54:31.:54:36.

one? We are all thrilled. We have seen so many amazing matches from

:54:37.:54:38.

you guys. We get a chance to experience it

:54:39.:54:44.

again. What's it like from your perspective to get to play Roger in

:54:45.:54:49.

a major final again? First of all, I hope to recover well. And then, you

:54:50.:54:55.

know, for me it's a privilege. It's a very special thing, I think for

:54:56.:55:00.

both of us, to be in the final of a Major again. Have another chance to

:55:01.:55:04.

compete against each other after a couple of years having some

:55:05.:55:08.

problems. I think both of us never thought we would be here again in

:55:09.:55:11.

the final of Australia. We feel, I think, very happy and I hope you

:55:12.:55:16.

feel happy, too. I assure you, that we all feel lucky to get a chance to

:55:17.:55:20.

see you guys doing it. Let the recovery begin. Go get some rest.

:55:21.:55:25.

You certainly have earned it. Ladies and gentlemen, he's Rafael Nadal and

:55:26.:55:28.

he's back in the final against. Rafah is through. We have the dream

:55:29.:55:32.

final. You will be able to see on Sunday on BBC Two at 1.00pm or live

:55:33.:55:42.

on 5 Live. Roger talked about his friend and rival after his

:55:43.:55:46.

semi-final victory yesterday. Rafah has presented me with the biggest

:55:47.:55:49.

challenge in the game. I think I played him too many times on clay

:55:50.:55:52.

early my career. That had something to do with the way I played him on

:55:53.:55:57.

different surfaces, too. This court allows me to play offensive. I mean,

:55:58.:56:01.

I'm probably his number one fan of Rafah. I think his game is

:56:02.:56:07.

tremendous. Incredible competitor. I'm happy we have had epic battles

:56:08.:56:12.

over the years. Of course, it would be unreal to play here I think both

:56:13.:56:16.

of us would have never thought we would be here potentially playing in

:56:17.:56:19.

the finals. I went to open his academy with him

:56:20.:56:26.

a few months back I told him - I wish we could do a charity match or

:56:27.:56:32.

something... But I was on one leg, he had the wrist injury. We were

:56:33.:56:37.

playing some mini ten in as with Junors and we were like, "this is

:56:38.:56:45.

the best we can do right now." It's special for both of us. I think I

:56:46.:56:51.

hope he has a good match tomorrow. I'm glad Roger is surprised. No-one

:56:52.:56:55.

would have predicted this final four months ago? Impossible. We thought

:56:56.:57:00.

would Roger be back after all the months in a Grand Slam final the

:57:01.:57:05.

answer robibly no. Rafah, with all his injuries, the answer, no. Here

:57:06.:57:09.

they are. Quite amazing. What about that match today, five sets, five

:57:10.:57:14.

hours of glorious tennis, wasn't it? One of the best matches I've seen.

:57:15.:57:17.

It answered a number of things. Firstly, about Rafah, that he's back

:57:18.:57:22.

and he's back to, I think, the tennis he was playing when he was

:57:23.:57:29.

dominating. He was that good. He came up against someone, Grigor

:57:30.:57:32.

Dimitrov, lieu being a the him now, OK,, this match you think he is

:57:33.:57:35.

going to win a Grand Slam. Bfrp we thought he was. He was very Brittle

:57:36.:57:41.

when it came to the Grand Slams and went away. He is not going away any

:57:42.:57:44.

more. I can't wait to see him for the rest of the year. Particularly

:57:45.:57:48.

at Wimbledon. He has it all now. It took a great Rafael Nadal to just

:57:49.:57:53.

sneak through it, and what a match. I think, Grigor Dimitrov proved a

:57:54.:57:56.

lot to himself as much as everybody else. Rafael Nadal, do they still

:57:57.:58:00.

have that match playing instinct. It's never gone, has it? The big

:58:01.:58:04.

points he played so well? The two break points in the fifth when it

:58:05.:58:10.

looked like he was going out. He went after it. Took chances. Hit two

:58:11.:58:15.

big forehands. Got the break points back and then the rest was history.

:58:16.:58:19.

He came through when it came down to it. The crunch points he played

:58:20.:58:23.

better and bigger. The big issue, the recovery. Will he be recovered

:58:24.:58:31.

from Sunday. The men's final is on Sunday. Tomorrow the Williams

:58:32.:58:38.

sisters at 1.15pm on BBC One and live on 5 Live. They have 60 Grand

:58:39.:58:47.

Slam titles between them. It's like going back in time. Goodbye.

:58:48.:58:56.

# Those days are all gone now # But one thing is true

:58:57.:59:01.

# When I look and I find # I still love you... #

:59:02.:59:07.

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.