It will once again be the best rivalry in sports renewed when Roger Federer takes on Rafael Nadal in a battle between the now No.2 13-time slam winner versus the No.1 ranked five-time slam champion.
Plenty will be on the line with the 27 year-old Federer aiming to match American Pete Sampras by winning his 14th grand slam. Nadal, who spoiled the party dethroning Roger at Wimbledon in a memorable five-set epic will again be standing in the way trying to win his first ever slam on a hard court.
Can the 22 year-old Spaniard who’s made life miserable for Federer add to an impressive 12-6 career record including 4-2 at slams by beating him on a neutral surface?
The bigger question is what will Rafa have left in the tank after outlasting fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the longest ever men’s match at Melbourne Park winning it 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4 with it lasting five hours and 14 minutes?
The amazing aspect is the 14th seeded Verdasco who had the best slam result of his career ousting No.4 Andy Murray in five and last year’s runner-up No.5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four somehow lost despite a ridiculous 95 winners while Nadal countered with 52.
Unfortunately, he double faulted on match point concluding the dramatic semifinal.
Nadal committed just 25 unforced errors while Verdasco made 76 in a match people are still talking about for the quality of play with neither Spaniard giving an inch during lengthy rallies.
So, can Nadal bounce back from a shorter recovery with a well rested Federer having more than a day extra to prepare after taking down Andy Roddick in straights needing just over two hours?
The pressure will squarely be on Federer when they take the court with legend Rod Laver in his arena looking on.
The big match is set for 3:30 AM Sunday morning on the East coast or 12:30 AM Pacific. That’s 7:30 PM Australian time. So, get out the caffeine and tune into ESPN2. If you can’t stay up, they’ll replay both women’s and men’s finals at 3 ET Sunday afternoon.