Federer faces Nadal in semi showdown

    Spain's Rafael Nadal has the upper hand in grand slam meetings with his friend and rival Roger Federer.

    Story highlights

    • Second seed Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Roger Federer to meet in Australian Open semifinals
    • Nadal battles to beat No. 7 Tomas Berdych, while Federer crushes Juan Martin del Potro
    • Their last-four match is a repeat of the 2009 final, which was won by Nadal
    • Nadal has the edge in the head-to-head stats, with 17 wins and only nine defeats
    World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and 16-time grand slam winner Roger Federer will face off for a place in the Australian Open final after the great tennis rivals won their last-eight ties on Tuesday.
    Four-time champion Federer reached his 30th grand slam semifinal with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory against Argentina's world No. 11 Juan Martin del Potro in the day's early match.
    Ten-time grand slam winner Nadal -- who beat Federer in an epic 2009 final to claim his only Australian Open triumph -- later earned a hard-fought victory over Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych.
    The Spaniard came from behind to win 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 6-3 in a grueling encounter which lasted over four hours.
    The two former world No. 1s have met in nine grand slam matches -- eight of them finals following their initial encounter at the 2005 French Open semis. Nadal won that match and six of the others.
    He has won 17 of the pair's 26 overall matches, with their most recent clash being Federer's straight-sets win at last year's ATP World Tour Finals.
    Becker on the Australian Open
    Becker on the Australian Open


      Becker on the Australian Open


    Becker on the Australian Open 04:47
    This year's Melbourne event is the first time since Roland Garros six years ago that Federer and Nadal have been on the same side of a grand slam draw.
    "It's been a long time," Federer told reporters after reaching the last four of the tennis season's opening major for the ninth year in a row.
    "I guess it's a nice change up. Okay, it doesn't allow a rematch for the final here, if (Andy) Murray were to play Novak (Djokovic). But I think it's good for tennis that it changes up a bit."
    Nadal said his 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-2 victory over Federer in 2009's showpiece match was an "unforgettable" experience.
    "Seriously, that final is one of the memories that will always be in my mind," the 25-year-old told reporters.
    He said Federer, who has yet to drop a set during the tournament, would be favorite on the hard-court surface.
    "He's doing well and he's playing fantastic, and he had a fantastic end of the season last year. So he's coming with confidence. It will be a very, very difficult match for me," Nadal said.
    "Always playing in these kind of surfaces, he's the favorite. His level is fantastic, and he won today a fantastic match against one of the best players of the world, Del Potro. So he's doing very, very well."
    The other semifinal could see a rematch between defending champion Novak Djokovic and 2011 runner-up Andy Murray.
    World No. 1 Djokovic plays Spain's fifth seed David Ferrer on Wednesday, while No. 4 Murray -- also a losing finalist in 2010 -- faces Japanese surprise package Kei Nishikori.