Australian Open: Nadal makes final with Federer
Published 12:00 am Friday, January 30, 2009
MELBOURNE, Australia ó After five arduous hours, Rafael Nadal couldn’t hold back the tears when he pulled within a point of making the Australian Open final.
Yet he managed to compose himself and held off Fernando Verdasco in five sets. Verdasco double-faulted after saving two match points, and Nadal won 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4 in the longest match in the tournament’s history. Nadal flopped on back ó exhausted and elated ó after a match few expected to go long.
The 5-hour, 14-minute semifinal between the Spanish left-handers started at dusk Friday and ended at 1:07 a.m. Saturday.
The top-ranked Nadal advanced to another final against Roger Federer. “Today was, yeah, one of these matches you going to remember long time, no?” Nadal said. “Well, the emotion was big.”
Serena Williams warmed up for tonight’s women’s final against Dinara Safina by combining with sister Venus to win the doubles title. They beat Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova and Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-3 under the roof at Melbourne Park.
It was the eighth Grand Slam doubles title and third in Australia for the Williams sisters, who also won the doubles gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.
Serena is aiming for her 10th singles major and to continue a sequence that includes an Australian title in every odd-numbered year since 2003.