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Nadal through to Melbourne final

Rafael Nadal is through to the Australian Open final after a comprehensive straight-sets victory over Roger Federer today.

The world number one and top seed was in imperious form throughout the match, reaching his third final in Melbourne with a score of 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-3.

Nadal, aiming for his second Australian Open title and 14th grand slam crown overall, will face Federer's fellow Swiss and 10th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday's final.

Despite playing with a painful blister on his left hand that required treatment early in the second set, the Spaniard played with typical aggression and 17-time slam champion Federer simply could not cope with his old rival's intensity.

Sixth seed Federer did match Nadal stride-for-stride in the opening set, which went to a tie-break.

However, the Swiss - a four-time winner in Melbourne - was made to pay for an error that saw him send a simple forehand into the net to hand Nadal a 3-1 lead in the breaker.

Nadal duly took the first set, and then moved through the gears with a sublime display in the second that saw him break to move into a 4-2 lead before closing it out with ease.

By that stage, the 27-year-old appeared unstoppable and, although Federer managed to break back to make it 2-2 in the third set, he was soon down 3-5 and serving to stay in the match.

The Swiss battled superbly to take the final game to deuce, but a wonderful Nadal forehand brought up match point before another unforced error from Federer settled matters.

Nadal has now beaten Federer in 23 of their 33 ATP Tour meetings, and will become just the third man in history to win all four grand slams at least twice - after Rod Laver and Roy Emerson - if he extends his flawless 12-0 record over Wawrinka on Sunday.

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