Rafa Nadal ruthless, swipes Federer aside

Stanislas Wawrinka kisses the Australian Open trophy after his first grand slam victory.
Stanislas Wawrinka kisses the Australian Open trophy after his first grand slam victory.
Stanislas Wawrinka sits with the Australian Open trophy at the post-final press conference.
Stanislas Wawrinka sits with the Australian Open trophy at the post-final press conference.
Rafa Nadal receives treatment on his injured back during the men's singles final.
Rafa Nadal receives treatment on his injured back during the men's singles final.
Stanislas Wawrinka reaches for a forehand during the men's singles final.
Stanislas Wawrinka reaches for a forehand during the men's singles final.
THIRD TIME LUCKY: Li Na kisses the Daphne Akhurst trophy after defeating Dominika Cibulkova in the Australian Open final.
THIRD TIME LUCKY: Li Na kisses the Daphne Akhurst trophy after defeating Dominika Cibulkova in the Australian Open final.
Runner-up Dominika Cibulkova and champion Li Na during the trophy presentation.
Runner-up Dominika Cibulkova and champion Li Na during the trophy presentation.
Dominika Cibulkova pumps her fist after winning a point in the Australian Open final.
Dominika Cibulkova pumps her fist after winning a point in the Australian Open final.
Li Na stretches for a two-handed volley in the women's final.
Li Na stretches for a two-handed volley in the women's final.
Rafa Nadal crushed Roger Federer in straight sets, and will play Stanislas Wawrinka for his 14th grand slam title in the Australian Open final.
Rafa Nadal crushed Roger Federer in straight sets, and will play Stanislas Wawrinka for his 14th grand slam title in the Australian Open final.
Roger Federer heads to the Australian Open exit.
Roger Federer heads to the Australian Open exit.
Li Na celebrates her semifinal win over Eugenie Bouchard.
Li Na celebrates her semifinal win over Eugenie Bouchard.
Roger Federer reacts after match point against Andy Murray.
Roger Federer reacts after match point against Andy Murray.
Grigor Dimitrov, left, and Rafael Nadal speak at the net after their epic last-eight clash.
Grigor Dimitrov, left, and Rafael Nadal speak at the net after their epic last-eight clash.
Agnieszka Radwanska, left, shakes hands with Victoria Azarenka after their quarterfinal.
Agnieszka Radwanska, left, shakes hands with Victoria Azarenka after their quarterfinal.
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada celebrates defeating Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals.
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada celebrates defeating Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals.
Li Na in quarterfinal action against Flavia Pennetta.
Li Na in quarterfinal action against Flavia Pennetta.
Roger Federer has won through to the last 16 of the Australian Open in straight sets.
Roger Federer has won through to the last 16 of the Australian Open in straight sets.
Maria Sharapova hits a backhand during her third round match against Alize Cornet.
Maria Sharapova hits a backhand during her third round match against Alize Cornet.
ANDY MURRAY: trailing 5-1 in the third set, Murray wins 23 straight points to close out a straight sets victory over Vincent Millot.
ANDY MURRAY: trailing 5-1 in the third set, Murray wins 23 straight points to close out a straight sets victory over Vincent Millot.
VICTORIA AZARENKA'S: personalised shoes during her match against Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
VICTORIA AZARENKA'S: personalised shoes during her match against Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
'FANATICS':cheer during Nick Kyrgios' match against Benoit Paire.
'FANATICS':cheer during Nick Kyrgios' match against Benoit Paire.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: hits a forehand during his second round match with Leonardo Mayer.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: hits a forehand during his second round match with Leonardo Mayer.
SERENA WILLIAMS: untroubled in the second round match.
SERENA WILLIAMS: untroubled in the second round match.
MARINA ERAKOVIC: hits a forehand during her first round match with Sorana Cirstea.
MARINA ERAKOVIC: hits a forehand during her first round match with Sorana Cirstea.
ANDY MURRAY: had a comprehensive win in his first round match against Japan Go Soeda.
ANDY MURRAY: had a comprehensive win in his first round match against Japan Go Soeda.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Shirt changes likely common at this year's Australian Open.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Shirt changes likely common at this year's Australian Open.
SERENA WILLIAMS: overpowered Ashleigh Barty in the first round.
SERENA WILLIAMS: overpowered Ashleigh Barty in the first round.
SABINE LISICKI: had a straightforward 6-2 6-1 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the first round.
SABINE LISICKI: had a straightforward 6-2 6-1 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the first round.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: shows flexibility's important for a pro tennis player.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: shows flexibility's important for a pro tennis player.
YANINA WICKMAYER: beat Dinah Pfizenmaier in the first round.
YANINA WICKMAYER: beat Dinah Pfizenmaier in the first round.
VENUS WILLIAMS: bowed out early in the first round.
VENUS WILLIAMS: bowed out early in the first round.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: got a first round win over Lukas Lacko.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: got a first round win over Lukas Lacko.
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: celebrates her surprise win over Venus Williams.
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: celebrates her surprise win over Venus Williams.
DAVID FERRER: won through to the second round.
DAVID FERRER: won through to the second round.

Unfancied Stanislas Wawrinka stands between Rafael Nadal and another slice of tennis history after the world No.1 heaped yet more grand slam misery on Roger Federer on Friday night.

Clubbing winner after winner in a devastating display of power and precision, Nadal crushed Federer 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-3 in their much-hyped Australian Open semi-final at Melbourne Park.

The two-hour, 24-minute masterclass repeated his victory over Federer in the 2012 semi-finals and maintained the Spaniard's seven-year hold over the Swiss in matches that matter most.

Victory also improved Nadal's overall head-to-head dominance over his career-long friend and foe to a lopsided 23 and 10.

The 27-year-old is now just one tantalising win away from joining Rod Laver as only the second man in 45 years of professional tennis to claim all four grand slam singles titles at least twice.

He can also join Pete Sampras in second place on the all-time grand slam leaderboard with 14 majors, just three shy of Federer's benchmark 17 after raising his game to supreme levels once more against the mighty Swiss.

"I think I played the best match of the tournament tonight. If I didn't, I think it would be impossible to win against Roger," Nadal said.

"Playing with Roger is a very special feeling. He's probably the opponent that when I go on the court I have very, very emotional feelings.

"We've played a lot of times for important things in our careers and today was another important match.

"He's a great champion."

Federer's defeat means Wawrinka will supplant the 32-year-old from his 14-year standing as Swiss No 1.

But unbeaten in 12 encounters with Wawrinka, Nadal will be an overwhelming favourite on Sunday night to secure a second Open crown and climb another rung up the ladder among the pantheon of greats.

"I never thought about having 13 grand slam titles," he modestly said.

"I never thought about having 14. The only thing I can say is I'll try my best."

With his childhood idol and now coach Stefan Edberg watching on, Federer tried everything to reverse his run of outs against his Spanish nemesis.

He served and volleyed, he chipped and charged, he rushed the net and went for broke.

But, in the end, it was again an all-too-familiar tale, with Nadal's brutal forehand overpowering Federer's elegant but errant backhand.

As Nadal bludgeoned almost twice as many winners to Federer, the Swiss sprayed 50 unforced errors.

Nadal hasn't lost to Federer at a major since the 2007 Wimbledon final and his latest triumph might prompt a re-think from Sampras about where the two tennis titans rank among the modern-day greats.

Before taking his seat at Rod Laver Arena to watch the pair slug it out for the first time live, Sampras said Federer still had "the numbers" to be considered No 1.

But not even a nasty blister on the palm of his left hand, right where he holds his racquet, could slow Nadal's march to the final.

"After missing last year for me, it's really really emotional for me to be back on this court, Rod Laver Arena, and to be able to play in another final," Nadal said.

Nadal has never even dropped a set against Wawrinka, but the top seed is refusing to under-estimate the 28-year-old after his stunning quarter-final ousting of defending champion Novak Djokovic.

"He played fantastic matches against Novak and (Tomas) Berdych," Nadal said.

"He should come to this final with big confidence."

CRUSHING WIN: Rafa Nadal crushed Roger Federer in straight sets, and will play Stanislas Wawrinka for his 14th grand slam title in the Australian Open final.
CRUSHING WIN: Rafa Nadal crushed Roger Federer in straight sets, and will play Stanislas Wawrinka for his 14th grand slam title in the Australian Open final.

AAP