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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are accustomed to meeting in the finals of major tournaments but, with Novak Djokovic nomw the top dog, the arch rivals will meet in the semi-final of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Federer's 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory over Argentine Juan Martin del Potro was his 1000th ATP Tour match and was among his best, allowing him to qualify for the 30th grand slam semi-final – the ninth on the trot in melbourne – of a career that grows more impressive with almost every match.

"I know how Juan Martin plays, he knows how I play," Federer said. "We've played some big matches against each other so I was just hoping that I would get off a good start.

Federer did that by breaking del Potro's opening serve, only to lose his own six games later and then strike back immediately to take one-set lead. From that point Federer's greatest concern was the afternoon shadow creeping across the court.

"I knew that was going to happen eventually," he said. "That's why serving out the second set was key for me.

"Get through that tough patch, and then in the third it was a bit more free swinging for me."

For the first time in seven years at a Grand Slam, Federer and Nadal were on the same side of the draw, making it impossible for them to meet in the final. Instead they will meet inb the final four, after Nadal overcame a spirited challenge from Tomas Berdych in the other quarter-final, eventualling prevailing 6-7 7-6 6-4 6-3.

In the quarter-finals in the other half of the draw, top seed Djokovic will play David Ferrer, while Andy Murray faces Kei Nishikori.


Federer and Nadal set for semi-final clash at Australian Open
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