Sports / Updates
Friday, 27 Jan 2017 11:27 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
Rafael Nadal is hoping to meet old rival Roger Federer in the Australian Open final by beating in-form Grigor Dimitrov in their semi-final on Friday. The Spaniard ,30, has not reached a major final since winning his 14th Grand Slam at the 2014 French Open. "I have to play my best because Grigor is playing with high confidence," said ninth seed Nadal.
The pair meet at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne about 08:30 GMT on Friday. If Nadal beats 25-year-old Dimitrov then all four singles finalists will be aged over 30, as 35-year-old Serena Williams meets older sister Venus, 36, in the women's final.
If Nadal wins his semi-final, he and Federer would contest their ninth Grand Slam final and their first since the French Open in 2011, when the Spaniard won in four sets. "Rafa has presented me with the biggest challenge in the game. I'm his number one fan. His game is tremendous. He's an incredible competitor. I'm happy we had some epic battles over the years and of course it would be unreal to play here. I think both of us would never have thought we would be here playing in the final."
Dimitrov, who has never reached a Grand Slam final, is aiming to prevent Federer, Nadal and the Williams sisters contesting the two finals at a major for the first time since 2008 Wimbledon. He has got a very complete game. He can mix it up really well. He's very confident and you never want to play confident players, but it's him or Rafa. It's going to be tough either way," said Federer.
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.