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


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




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.