Wawrinka an Australian long-shot against Nadal

SAM LIENERT
Last updated 02:26 25/01/2014
Stanislas Wawrinka
Getty Images
ONTO THE FINAL: Stanislas Wawrinka reacts after match point against Tomas Berdych in their Australian Open semifinal.

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Roger Federer has had his share of struggles against Rafael Nadal, but that's nothing compared to fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.

Wawrinka has exceeded his own dreams by reaching the Australian Open final.

But his record against the world No 1, who he will face in Sunday night's decider, is a nightmare.

The 28-year-old, who will replace Federer as the top-ranked Swiss player on Monday, has never taken a set off Nadal in their 12 meetings.

That's 26 sets to love the Spaniard's way.

Sure, Wawrinka pushed Nadal to two tiebreaks at last year's ATP World Tour Finals in their most recent meeting, his best head-to-head performance yet.

But the prospect of taking three sets off Nadal, in what will be the top seed's 19th major final and the Swiss's first, seems remote.

Especially after the form the Spaniard showed in dispatching Federer in Friday night's semi-final, just his second straight-sets win over the Swiss great in their 11 grand slam meetings.

Wawrinka is in the form of his life and has achieved one breakthrough upset already this tournament, when he stunned four-time champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, after losing their previous 14 meetings.

But, unlike his history against Nadal, there had been indications that win was coming, when he pushed the Serb to five sets in last year's Australian Open and again in the US Open.

In Wawrinka's two previous grand slam meetings with Nadal, he's won a total of six games each time.

The most recent of those thrashings will be fresh in his memory, coming less than a year ago in the French Open quarter-finals, although Wawrinka will like his chances better on Melbourne Park's hard courts than Roland Garros clay.

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- AAP

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