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Nadal sets up vintage Federer final in Australian Open

Rafael Nadal sinks to his knees after beating Grigor Dimitrov. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will go head to head in a vintage Australian Open final after the Spaniard sealed an epic five-set victory over Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal triumphed 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 after just short of five hours on Rod Laver Arena and will now face Federer, his greatest rival, in a mouth-watering showdown on Sunday.

Dimitrov threatened to derail Melbourne's dream reunion by twice coming from behind to force a decider, but Nadal was relentless, powering his way through to his 21st major final and first since winning the French Open in 2014.

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Nadal pulls out of French Open

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the French Open with a wrist injury, he has announced.

He said: "I arrived here with a little bit of pain but it was something I was able to manage, but every day it was a little bit worse. We spent a lot of hours here working so hard to try to play.

"Yesterday I played with an injection, with anaesthetic, and I could play but yesterday night I started to feel more and more pain and this morning I felt I couldn't move the wrist.

"I had a scan and the results are not positive. It's not broken but if I keep playing it's going to be broken the next couple of days.

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Nadal shocked by compatriot Verdasco fightback

Rafael Nadal is out. Credit: Reuters

Rafael Nadal bowed out in the Australian Open first round as fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco came from behind to win 7-6 (8/6), 4-6 3-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-2.

Nadal led by two sets to one and then 2-0 in the decider in Rod Laver Arena but Verdasco came roaring back, unleashing an incredible 90 winners en route to a superb victory.

Fernando Verdasco shocked his compatriot. Credit: Reuters

The world number 45 will now face Israel's Dudi Sela in round two, while Nadal exits a third consecutive grand slam in the first week.

"I played unbelievable in the fifth set from after the break he made against me," Verdasco said.

"I just started hitting winners - I don't know how. I was closing my eyes and everything was coming in."

Rafael Nadal gets Wimbledon campaign underway

Nadal hasn't reached the fourth round since 2011. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal got his Wimbledon campaign underway against Brazilian Thomaz Belluci in London's sweltering heat this afternoon.

The 2008 and 2010 winner hasn't advanced past the fourth round since 2011, but started brightly today with a 6-4 victory in the first set.

Nadal currently leads Belluci 2-0 with an early break in the second set, and could meet British number one Andy Murray in the fourth round this year.

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