Two of the greatest tennis players ever will renew their rivalry on the sport’s biggest stage this weekend.
Rafael Nadal ensured that Friday morning, defeating Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 in a marathon semifinal to advance to the Australian Open finals. The match took four hours and 56 minutes, with Nadal fighting off two break points in the eighth game of the decisive fifth set.
The win earns him a rematch with old foe Roger Federer, who defeated Stan Wawrinka in Thursday’s other semifinal.
It’s the 35th matchup between the two tennis titans, who have an incredible 31 Grand Slam titles between them. Nadal holds a 23-11 edge in their head-to-head matchup and a 6-2 advantage in their eight Grand Slam final meetings. Nadal and Federer haven’t met in a Grand Slam final since the Spaniard defeated the Switzerland native in the 2011 French Open final.
Whoever wins Sunday’s final will break a prolonged title drought; the 30-year-old Nadal hasn’t won a Grand Slam title since 2014, while Federer, 35, hasn’t tasted Grand Slam victory since 2012.
Venus and Serena Williams will face off in Saturday’s women’s final in what should be a historic weekend of excellent finals matchups.
Thumbnail photo via Nicolas Luttiau/Presse Sports via USA TODAY Sports Images