Nadal Makes Aussie Open Final

Wins in longest match in tournament history
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 30, 2009 9:42 AM CST
Spain's Rafael Nadal, right, hugs compatriot Fernando Verdasco at the net after he won the Men's singles semifinal match at the Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne, Australia.    (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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(Newser) – Top-ranked Rafael Nadal outlasted fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4 today to reach the Australian Open final after the longest match in the tournament's history. The fans were riveted as the left-handed Davis Cup teammates went at each other for 5 hours and 14 minutes. After all that, having saved two match points, 14th-seeded Verdasco served a double-fault to give Nadal the victory.

"It was very tough to play aggressive against a player like Fernando," Nadal said. "He played unbelievable. Only when you're playing very well can you have these wins." There were no arguments, no gamesmanship, just great shots, with the momentum shifting on a handful of key points. Nadal earned the right to try to keep second-ranked Roger Federer from tying Pete Sampras' record of 14 major titles on Sunday.