Score Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov of the 2017 Australian Open Semifinal

Score Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov of the 2017 Australian Open Semifinal
Who will prevail in the last men's semifinal (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)
Rafael Nadal
3 2
Grigor Dimitrov

I've been Craig Vickers and it's been a pleasure. Four minutes shy of five hours and I now need a lie down!

Jim Courier speaking to Nadal courtside. Stay tuned to VAVEL USA Tennis throughout the day for post-match reports and coverage. 

His opponent? Roger Federer. It promises to be an epic battle with both players having been pushed to five sets.

A four-hour slugfest sees Nadal progress to his first grand slam final since the French Open in 2015.

GAME, SET, MATCH, RAFAEL NADAL! THE SPANIARD WINS 6-3, 5-7 7-6, 6-7, 6-4!

*A-40: MP #3!

*40-40

*A-40: MP #2!

*40-40

*40-30: MP!

*30-30

*30-15

*30-0

*15-0

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 5-4 Dimitrov*: HE'S GOT THE BREAK! 

40-30*: Dimi's forehand ricochets off the net and lands wide. BP.

30-30*: Dimitrov bides his time and watches an error fly off Nadal's racket.

30-15*: Let-off for the Bulgarian.

30-0*: A double fault from Grigor. Rafa can sense the opportunity.

15-0*: Absolutely no words for what Rafa just pulled off from his forehand there.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 4-4 Dimitrov: An absolute slug fest. On serve at 4-all.

*A-40: This will be a bitter pill to swallow for Dimi.

*40-40: A bouyant pump of the fist as Nadal saves the second. Sensational.

*30-40: Nadal saves one, his two-handed backhand to the rescue as it has all night.

*15-40: Two break points for Dimitrov. Utilised the slice and pace of the court smartly there.

*15-30: Nadal forces consecutive slices from Dimi, with the latter dropping out.

*0-30: Now then. An unforced error off the forehand side from Rafa.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 3-4 Dimitrov*: Searing forehand from Dimi as he holds for 3-4.

40-A*: 1-2 punch from Grigor.

30-40*: Dimi pushes Nadal all the way back to the serve barometer and finishes the point at the net.

15-30*: Dimitrov pushes Nadal from baseline to baseline.

0-15*: Ace number 20 for Dimi.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 3-3 Dimitrov: A stress-free hold for Nadal, serving reliably well. Can Dimitrov respond?

*40-0: Nadal serving well this game.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 3-2 Dimitrov*: Still no breaks as Dimitrov steadies himself.

40-A*: Dimitrov spots an opportunity and forces Nadal into an error with a forehand down the line.

40-40*: Nadal chastising himself as he sends a forehand long.

30-40*: Break opportunity as Dimitrov nets a backhand from the ad side.

30-30*: Simply enthralling tennis.

0-15*: Big serve and forehand from Grigor. Credit to Nadal's defensive, however.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 2-2 Dimitrov: On serve so far. 

*40-30: Nadal lands a forehands this time.

*30-15: Nadal moves Grigor around with his angled forehands.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 1-2 Dimitrov*: A matter of who blinks first now.

15-40*: A beautiful pick up and passing shot from Rafa's dropshot has the crowd on their feet.

15-30*: Nadal's lob lands in, Dimitrov appears to slip and cramp but the Bulgarian manages to construct the point.

15-15*: Ouch. Weird forehand miss from the Bulgarian.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 1-1 Dimitrov: A taxing service game for the Spaniard.

*A-40: Perfect dropshot from Nadal.

*40-40: Dimitrov rattled Nadal with the return but he sends an errant forehand long.

*30-40: Excellent backhand down the line from Grigor as he exclaims in joy.

*30-30: Such power in Nadal's shots despite the four-hour duration.

*0-30: Dimitrov was all over that second serve from the Spaniard.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 0-1 Dimitrov*: A thirteen minute service game sees Grigor hold.

40-A*: How Nadal may rue that forehand, now.

40-40*: Perhaps not, as Nadal's return is called out.

A-40*: How Grigor may rue that choice of shot.

40-40*: Nonchalant return from Rafa.

40-A*: A seven minute game as Nadal sends a forehand long.

40-40*: And saves another with a good serve down the tee.

40-30*: Only on break point. Nadal pushes Grigor wide with the backhand but the Bulgarian pummels a forehand down the line.

40-15*: Two early break points for Nadal.

30-0*: Grigor rushes to the net and Nadal does him with the pass.

15-0*: Dimitrov shanks a forehand and Nadal pounces.

Nearly four hours of play and we're heading to a deciding fifth set.

GAME AND FOURTH SET, DIMITROV! 7-6!

4-6*: Off-speed serve and rush to the net doesn't prove fruitful for Grigor.

*3-6: Nadal's fails to connect properly with a backhand and Dimitrov, on serve, has three set points.

*3-5: Dimitrov sends a backhand way long.

2-5*: Big serve out wide as Nadal takes serve.

2-4*: Cooly executed volley after a big serve and forehand.

*2-3: Grigor grafts out the mini-break with a lengthy return.

*2-2: Rafa hasn't hit a forehand winner for a bit. But he did there.

1-2*: Excellent striking from Dimitrov. Two super backhands to begin the tie-break.

1-1*: Dimitrov's cross-court forehands catches the outside of the line.

*1-0: Nice chip from Rafa sees Dimitrov send a forehand wide.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-6 Dimitrov*: And a forehand sends us into another breaker.

15-40*: A double fault. Why not?

0-40*: And an ace for good measure. His 16th of the evening.

0-30*: Two quick rallies.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-5 Dimitrov: Nadal shows excellent reactions to a net chord to force Dimitrov to serve to stay in the tournament.

*40-30: Grigor carved out the opportunities but a mixture of excellent defense and a questionable slice see Nadal construct game point.

*30-15: That error from the backhand will rile Dimitrov.

*0-15: Grigor ripping the backhand and forces an error from Rafa.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 5-5 Dimitrov*: And another.

0-40*: Ace.

0-30*: Dimitrov's forehand beginning to resemble a genuine weapon.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 5-4 Dimitrov: Nadal potentially a game away from his fourth final at the Australian Open.

*30-0: Sensational rallying from both men and Nadal's deft dropshot finishes it off.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 4-4 Dimitrov*: Strong hold, once again, from the Bulgarian.

15-30*: Nadal's backhand escapes him there.

0-15*: Ace to begin the service game from Dimitrov.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 4-3 Dimitrov: Another hold for Nadal who connects with a searng backhand that prompts a challenge from Grigor.

*40-30: Grigor exclaims in anger as he nets an inviting backhand.

*30-30: Nadal steadies himself with a pair of excellent groundstrokes.

*15-30: Nadal strands Dimitrov behind the baseline but Nadal pushes a routine forehand wide.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 3-3 Dimitrov*: The Bulgarian's lob comes to his rescue there.

30-40*: Beautiful curving serve out wide. Dimitrov doing well to hang in this.

15-15*: Dimitrov nets a forehand cross-court.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 3-2 Dimitrov: Massive hold for Rafa.

*40-30: Mightily incredible defense from Nadal, who draws Grigor forward and does him with the pass.

*15-15: Nadal generated a lot of kick on that second serve.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 2-2 Dimitrov*: Now Dimitrov benefits from the net chord. On serve.

40-40*: Net chord aids Nadal as he sends down a tricky overhead.

15-30*: Many would have wilted under Nadal's incredible defense here. Not Dimitrov, who continues to strike through the 14-time major champion.

15-15*: Super return from Rafa and his following backhand draws an error at the net from Grigor.

0-15*: Great 1-2 punch from Dimitrov.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 2-1 Dimitrov: The Bulgarian now behind on the serve count.

*40-15: No love service hold for Nadal.

*40-0: Nadal's serve out wide is really beginning to click -- responsible for his last two points.

*15-0: Stan Wawrinka would be applauding Dimitrov's return position there.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 1-1 Dimitrov*: A second ace from Dimitrov confirms the hold.

30-40*: Dimitrov sends an ace down the middle.

15-15*: Grigor hits an errant forehand wide. This is a crucial game for the 25-year-old.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 7-6 1-0 Dimitrov: Great rallying from Nadal. Dimitrov can do little.

*40-15: Likewise at 30-15 as Dimitrov sends a forehand return long.

*15-15: Nadal ties Grigor up with a second serve.

GAME AND THIRD SET, NADAL! 7-5(5)!

*6-5: Unbelievable defense from Nadal. Just incredible. Set point on Dimitrov's serve.

*5-5: A collective gasp from the spectactors as Nadal inexplicably crashes a forehand into the net.

5-4*: First ace of the tie-break goes to the Bulgarian.

5-3*: Dimitrov slips at a crucial moment and cannot work his way back into rally. 

*4-3: Great backhand return from Grigor who extracts the error from Nadal's backhand.

*4-2: Nadal breaths a sigh of relief as he hits his overhead straight at Dimitrov whose forehand connects only with the net.

3-2*: Nadal sends a lob too long.

3-1*: Tremendous backhand from Nadal creates the advantage and the Spaniard capitalises.

*1-1: Grigor works the mini-break back.

1-0*: Poor forehand from Dimitrov. He may live to rue that.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 6-6 Dimitrov: A tie-breaker awaits.

*40-0: Enthralling rally. Dimitrov's backhand is short and Rafa pounces.

There is a fan receiving medical treatment in the crowd. Play won't resume until the medical team give the umpire the green light.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 5-6 Dimitrov*: Tension is mounting on Rod Laver Arena.

40-40*: Likewise Dimitrov, who could've closed out the service game but instead sends a backhand out.

30-40*: Rafa frustrated as he sends a forehand wide.

30-15*: Rafa ties Dimitrov up with the return and he plants a forehand into the net.

15-0*: Grigor rushes to the net but Nadal does him with the one-handed backhand lob.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 5-5 Dimitrov: Crucial hold for the Spaniard who unleashes a whipping forehand up the line.

*40-15: The Bulgarian manufactures great length on the return but is let down by an errant forehand.

*30-15: Rafa puts too much topspin on his FH and it lands south of the baseline.

*15-0: Short return from Grigor and Rafa uses his forehand to construct the point.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 4-5 Dimitrov*: His forehand has steadied itself from the beginning of the set and he forces Nadal to serve to stay in the set.

15-40*: Dimitrov takes the backhand high and rips it down the line.

15-15*: Nadal inches forward on Dimitrov's serve and extracts a forced error from the Bulgarian.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 4-4 Dimitrov: And it culminates in a ferocious ace (perhaps his biggest of the match) down the tee.

*40-0: Quick service game thus far from Rafa. 

Nadal 6-3 5-7 3-4 Dimitrov*: The Bulgarian sends down his ninth ace of the evening.

15-40*: Dimitrov has composed himself, but Nadal continues to wow the crowd with his passing shots down the line.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 3-3 Dimitrov: Again, inexplicable from Nadal. Sends a forehand wide to gift the break back to the Bulgarian.

*40-A: Nadal nets an inexplicable FH error.

*40-40: He saves them both as Grigor retreated on Nadal's serve. Strange.

*15-40: A couple of break back points for Grigor as Rafa, too, has been let down with his usually steady backhand.

*15-15: Grigor had Nadal backtracking but, as has been a theme this set, his forehand deserts him.

*0-15: Double fault from Rafa.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 3-2 Dimitrov*: And he converts! Grigor's sliced backhand is long.

40-30*: Break point for Rafa after another unforced error from Dimi.

30-30*: Dimi read Rafa's passing shot and volleyed into the vacancy.

15-15*: Woeful forehand volley from the Bulgarian.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 2-2 Dimitrov: The Spaniard pushes Grigor to the very limit in that rally. New balls.

*40-30: Wonderful backhand down the line from Dimitrov. The crowd awe.

*40-15: Rafa sets it up nicely with the serve and finishes expertly with the volley.

*15-15: Beautiful defense from the Bulgarian with the use of the slice. Pounces with the forehand down the line.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 1-2 Dimitrov*: Big ace out wide after saving two break points and benefitting from an agonising net chord.

40-40*: And another with a deft serve and volley. Why isn't he approaching the net more?

40-30*: Saves one with an ace down the middle.

40-15*: Another horrible double fault from Grigor. Two early break points for Rafa.

30-15*: Dimitrov strangely goes down the line and misses.

*Nadal 6-3 5-7 1-1 Dimitrov: Nice tee serve from Nadal who holds to begin the third set. Now complaining about liquid on the court.

*40-0: Nadal prizes the error out of Dimitrov.

*15-0: Much better length on his shots from Nadal.

Nadal 6-3 5-7 0-1 Dimitrov*: Closest hawkeye challenge of the tournament perhaps. Eight straight points for the Bulgarian.

0-40*: Three forehand winners in succession for Dimitrov.

An hour and 42 minutes have elapsed. A set-all and a contrasting set for Nadal.

GAME AND SECOND SET, DIMITROV! 7-5!

*15-40: One of the points of the evening constructs two set points for Grigor.

*15-30: Nadal shanks a forehand, akin to Dimitrov's earlier, high into the sky.

Nadal 6-3 5-6 Dimitrov*: Few can fault the Bulgarian's serving there. Massive hold.

0-30*: Nicely placed second serve from Dimitrov.

*Nadal 6-3 5-5 Dimitrov: Nadal saves four (!) set points.

*A-40: Now Nadal has the opportunity to consolidate the break back.

*40-40: He saves it with an ace!

*40-A: A forehand to forget from the Spaniard. Fourth chance to claim this second set for Grigor.

*40-40: Bi(iiii)g serve from Nadal.

*40-A: Mesmerising defending from Nadal but Dimitrov fashions his third set point.

*40-40: And he squanders another one, shanking his backhand off the tip of his racket.

*40-A: Set point number two for the Bulgarian.

*40-40: Wow! Dimitrov pushes Nadal to the limit but Nadal saves set point with a sumptous forehand down the line.

*30-40: Set point for Grigor, whose backhand Nadal can't successfully scoop up.

*15-15: Dimitrov takes control with a forehand up the line.

Nadal 6-3 4-5 Dimitrov*: Third successive break of serve as Dimitrov's forehand connects with the net. 

40-15*: The Bulgarian goes for a backhand down the line and gifts two break points to the Spaniard.

*Nadal 6-3 3-5 Dimitrov: A sense of deja vu as Dimitrov is gifted a break point and Nadal, guilty of being too passive in that service game, double faults. Dimitrov will serve for the second set.

*40-A: Three unforced errors from Nadal in succession.

*40-15: The Bulgarian seizes the initiative and forces Nadal back but he can only find the net with a backhand volley.

*30-0: Short serve from Rafa but Dimitrov can only find the net with his forehand return.

Nadal 6-3 3-4 Dimitrov*: The Bulgarian gifts the break back with an inopportune double fault. Will it affect him psychologically?

A-40*: Supreme passing shot down the line from Rafa. Another opportunity to break.

40-40*: Nadal is gifted break point but, once again, he cannot generate enough on Dimi's serve down the tee.

15-30*: Nadal's return's are short and the Bulgarian smashes two forehand winners past the Spaniard.

15-0*: Uncharacteristic double fault from Dimi.

*Nadal 6-3 2-4 Dimitrov: Another one. Nadal isn't conceding this second set.

*40-15: Nadal connects with his third ace of the match.

*15-15: Good serve out wide from Rafa.

Nadal 6-3 1-4 Dimitrov*: Nadal performs the most awkward looping forehand return but Dimitrov steadies the rally to consolidate the break. Nadal's level hasn't dropped massively, but Dimitrov has mightily raised his.

30-30*: This will be a massive hold for Grigor. Nadal doesn't appear overly affected by losing serve.

15-15*: Best rally of the evening. 

*Nadal 6-3 1-3 Dimitrov: The Bulgarian utilises his sliced backhand and forces Nadal to go long. Vital break for Dimitrov.

*0-40: Nadal has it out with the umpire after being issued a time violation. Three break points.

*0-30: "C'mon", yells the 25-year-old. An opportunity.

*0-15: The Bulgarian is shortening the rallies. Rips a backhand winner beyond Nadal.

Nadal 6-3 1-2 Dimitrov*: Nice 1-2 punch from Dimitrov who pumps his fist in relief (more than anything less) at his box.

30-40*: Right on cue, Nadal connects with a supreme backhand return.

0-40*: Dimitrov beginning to look more confident on serve. 

*Nadal 6-3 1-1 Dimitrov: The Bulgarian can only connect with the net on Nadal's serve as the Spaniard holds.

*40-30: First double fault of the evening for Rafa.

*30-15: The crowd gasp as the Bulgarian reaches three Nadal forehands out wide but, in keeping with the game, Nadal eventually wins the point. Unbelievable.

*15-15: A rare unforced forehand error from Nadal. Dimitrov exclaims.

Nadal 6-3 0-1 Dimitrov*: Can Nadal sustain this level?

15-40*: Dimitrov utilises the serve and volley well to hold during a crucial opening service game.

Nadal winning 90% of points on his first serve. Dimitrov will have to hope Nadal's level dips significantly.

GAME AND OPENING SET, NADAL! 6-3!

*40-15: A pair of good body serves from Nadal brings up two set points.

*0-15: Dimitrov, too, is beginning to stamp his authority. Maybe a little too late with the set drifting away, though.

Nadal 5-3 Dimitrov*: The Bulgarian shanks a routine volley wide but recovers with a big serve that Nadal cannot return.

0-30*: Nadal senses an opportunity but his backhand cross-court lacks the requisite accuracy.

0-15*: Another 211km/h ace from the Bulgarian.

*Nadal 5-2 Dimitrov: Quick hold from the Spaniard who has found his rhythm early on. Can Dimitrov hold to force Nadal to serve the opening set out?

*30-0: Nadal is really pushing the 25-year-old from side-to-side. 

Nadal 4-2 Dimitrov*: Big serve and a rasping backhand cross-court. Dimitrov holds.

0-40*: And a third. This time down the line.

0-30*: The Bulgarian rips two forehand winners past Nadal. Looking to sustain at least a bit of pressure.

*Nadal 4-1 Dimitrov: The Spaniard is finding the lines and his backhand (!) is troubling the Bulgarian.

*30-0: Dimitrov's return looks out on closer inspection but Nadal extends the rally.

Nadal 3-1 Dimitrov*: The Bulgarian saves one with a 211km/h ace but, approaching the net, Dimitrov reaches on a Nadal passing shot and can only find the net. The Spaniard grabs the first break.

40-15*: Sumptous backhand cross-court winner from Nadal and a Dimitrov unforced error gifts Nadal two break points.

*Nadal 2-1 Dimitrov: Scintilatting forehand from Nadal, hitting a winner off Dimitrov's dipping backhand slice.

*40-15: Dimitrov pounces on a second serve from Nadal but his backhand down the line lands wide.

*15-15: When Nadal can line-up with his forehand, he's dangerous.

Nadal 1-1 Dimitrov*: Routine opening service game from the 25-year-old.

0-40*: First ace of the evening from the Bulgarian.

0-30*: A supreme backhand from the ad side from Dimitrov, in which Nadal fails to scoop up.

*Nadal 1-0 Dimitrov: The Bulgarian slices into the net as Nadal saves two break points to take the opening service game.

*A-40: Dimitrov's sliced return is short and Rafa capatalises.

*40-40: Supreme second serve from Nadal, whose blushes are spared by hawk eye after a shanked high volley.

*30-40: Nadal saves one of two early break points.

*15-40: Dimitrov sends Nadal out wide with his darting backhands and rips a forehand winner up the line.

*15-30: Dimitrov striking the ball confidently but Nadal's topspin forehand does the trick.

*0-30 (*denotes server): Nadal sends consecutive forehands long to begin proceedings.

Nadal will serve first.

Umpire calls time, meaning we're only minutes -- while Nadal meticously lines up his waterbottles -- from play.

Nadal follows Dimitrov onto Rod Laver Arena while Dimitrov chats contently to the woman tasked with the coin toss. Nerves?

Hello all! Play is only fifteen minutes out and VAVEL will be providing point-by-point coverage of the semifinal showdown.

Be sure to join us for what promises to be an epic encounter.

Nadal, though, will worry little about such a stat. The 2009 champion has wrestled with injuries since his last major triumph in Paris in 2015. Only Dimitrov can prevent the overriding feeling of deja vu.

The world number one, a perennial nearly-ran in Australia, fell in the fourth round to Mischa Zverev and his departure marked the first time since the French Open in 2004 that both the world number one and two have crashed out of a grand slam tournament before the quarterfinal stage.

Few can question that decision with a final berth at stake. Nadal -- and Federer -- have also been aided by the impromptu exits of Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Dimitrov chalked his first victory over Nadal on the outdoor hard courts in Beijing last year before Rafa decided to curtail his season to launch an all-out assault in 2017.

The pair have squared off against each other on outdoor hard courts on three separate occasions, with Nadal triumphing in Melbourne in 2014 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2.

What will concern the Bulgarian pre-match, though, is his dismal 1-7 head-to-head record against the Spaniard.

"I’m confident enough to say that I feel good physically and just go forward with the confidence that I have built up also from the previous tournament [Brisbane]."

"I feel like I have all the tools to go further, and my job isn’t over yet," he noted after his victory over Goffin on Wednesday.

Dimitrov, meanwhile, says he will not crumble under the pressures of a grand slam semifinal.

Nadal says an indicator of whether he's playing well is his ability to perform passing shots, which were abundant in his rout of Raonic. 

"I was there trying to stop his aggressive shots and don't lose court, don't lose meters behind the baseline. That's an important change for me."

Many noted the change in the Spaniard's return position during his victory over Raonic and Nadal admitted that that aspect of his game has been a big change.

Commenting on the challenge that presents itself in the form of Dimitrov, Nadal said: "He is a player who has unbelievable talent, unbelievable potential. I'm going to try and play my best because I know he's playing with high confidence."

Hampered by injury, however, the Canadian showed little resistance as Nadal pounced on his weak second serve and displayed the sort of exuberance that significantly shortened the odds of the Spaniard lifting the crown on Sunday

The much-anticipated quarterfinal arrived between Nadal and the world number three Milos Raonic, who vanquished the 30-year-old in Brisbane en route to a semifinal showing.

Scheduled on Rod Laver Arena in the evening, Monfils wilted under the pressure. Nadal stormed to a two-set buffer for the loss of only six games and, despite a brief rally from the Frenchman, the Spaniard sealed his progression to the last eight.

Dimitrov will be eager to qualify for his first grand slam final (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Asia Pac)
Dimitrov will be eager to qualify for his first grand slam final (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Asia Pac)

So, too, was Gael Monfils labelled as a potential upset for Nadal. The Frenchman's head-to-head record with the 14-time grand slam champion does not make for pretty reading but La Monf has refined his game in the past twelve months and had made light work of his matches down under until then.

But, eyeing only a second Australian Open in his career, the veteran rallied, taking the fourth set 6-3 before closing out in fashion.

Zverev claimed the first set before the Spaniard levelled. A pulsating third set tie-break went the German's way and, for a brief spell, the match appeared to be getting away from Rafa

Florian Mayer and Marco Baghdatis were handled for the loss of no sets but the 19-year-old German prodigy Alexander Zverev proved a tough assignment. 

The spotlight, in contrast, has never shun so brightly on Nadal after his injury woes post-U.S. Open last year.

Goffin, meanwhile, could not match the 25-year-old's rhythm in the quarterfinals on Wednesday and fell in straight sets. 

The Novak Djokovic conquering Denis Istomin, awaited in the fourth round and, despite enduring an early scare, Dimitrov prevailed 2-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Buoyed by his unblemished record this season, the Bulgarian wowed the native Australians with a straight sets, third round victory over the wily Richard Gasquet.

The 25-year-old, who is appearing in his second grand slam semifinal, knocked off Australian Christopher O'Connell in round one before recovering from a 6-1 first set deficit to Chung Hyeon to triumph in four. 

The Bulgarian is 10-0 in 2017 after capturing the Brisbane crown earlier this month and has breezed through to the last four in Melbourne with his eye-pleasing groundstrokes and happy-go-lucky demeanour. 

Nadal and Federer last squared off in the final of a grand slam at the 2011 French Open but Dimitrov, who dazzled in his straight sets triumph over David Goffin in the quarterfinals, will be looking to spoil the reunion.

The clock has been turned back to 2008 down under as Nadal and Dimitrov square off for a crack at the Australian Open crown against the resurgent Roger Federer, who dispatched his Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka in a five-set thriller on Thursday

Hi, I'm Craig Vickers and welcome to live, point-by-point coverage of the men's second semifinal between Spain's Rafael Nadal and Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov at the 2017 Australian Open. From now until play commences at 7:30pm local time (8:30am GMT/3:30am ET/12:30am PT), news and notes will be above to bring you up to speed on proceedings in what is shaping up to be a memorable Australian Open. Be sure to return at match time for minute-by-minute updates.