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Federer outlasts Wawrinka to reach Australian Open final

Roger Federer has beaten Stan Wawrinka in five sets to reach the final of the Australian Open. This will be Federer's first final in Melbourne since he won his last Australian Open in 2010.

Roger Federer won a thrilling semi-final against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka on Thursday 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 to reach Sunday's men's final, where he will face either Rafael Nadal or Grigor Dimitrov.

The 35-year-old Federer looked to be very much in control of the match through the first two sets in front of a sold-out crowd at the Rod Laver Arena, but Wawrinka bounced back to even the match, forcing it into a fifth set. 

Wawrinka double-faulted to give Federer the critical service break at 4-2 in the fifth. Federer went on to serve it out two games later to take the match - and become the oldest player to reach a Grand Slam final since Ken Rosewall made the final of the US Open at the age of 39 in 1974.

"I never, ever in my wildest dreams felt I was going to be coming this far in Australia and here I am. It's beautiful. I'm so happy," Federer said in the on-court interview. 

The 17th-ranked Swiss is playing in his first Grand Slam since coming back from six months off due to injury. On Sunday he will be going for his 18th Grand Slam title.

Nadal and Dimitrov were to play each other on Friday to determine the other men's finalist.

"Rafa's given me the most problems in the game ... I'm probably Rafa's No.1 fan," Federer said about the prospedt of meeting his old rival in the final.  

"I think his game is just tremendous. He's an incredible competitor. I'm happy that we've had some epic battles over the years and of course it would be unreal to play him here."

However, Federer also said that facing Dimitrov would also be a stiff challenge.

"He can mix it up really well. He's very confident and you never want to play confident players, but it's him or Rafa," Federer said. "It's going to be tough either way."
Earlier on Thursday, both Serena and Venus Williams won their semi-finals to set up the sisters' ninth meeting in a Grand Slam final - and their first since Wimbledon in 2009.

pfd/mf (AP, Reuters)

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