For the 11th time in their illustrious rivalry, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet in a Grand Slam, where the Swiss will look to make his first Grand Slam final since winning his 17th at Wimbledon in 2012.
We all know that it will be an uphill battle for Federer against Nadal, as it always is, and it will certainly take an excellent performance to take out the man who has given him the most trouble in his career.
Federer is on a roll right now, taking out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straights and Andy Murray in four sets. History has shown that Roger's previous match form doesn't count for much when the man on the other side of the net is Nadal, but I feel that this could be a different kind of match that the ones we have seen in the past.
Throughout this entire tournament Roger has been very aggressive, which can be summed up by the fact that he got to net 107 times in 7 sets against Tsonga and Murray. To get to net 66 times in 4 sets against Andy was quite unreal because of the Scot's counter-punching skills. Whether it's Stefan Edberg's influence or Roger just being confident with his game, this is a different Fed than the one we saw for the majority of last year.
If Federer and Nadal play at the same level, Rafa has the edge. In order for Fed to win the match, he'll need to be better - not necessarily throughout the whole match, but in the important moments that will decide the outcome (notably, break points for and against). Everyone knows that Nadal will try to implement his tried and true strategy of getting the ball high to Roger's backhand, where he can then control the centre of the court. Roger has to counteract that as much as possible by being aggressive, keeping the ball deep, and not giving Nadal short balls.
This is the big question for me. Will the bigger racquet make a difference for Roger? Will the added power on the serve help him win some more free points? Can the 8 added square inches assist him in taking all those shoulder-high backhands? Can the added pop on his forehand be a factor? The courts are a little bit faster this year so will that make a difference? Nadal has been playing with a bad blister on his hand which he says affects him on the serve. He may be playing without the tape but if the blister becomes an issue how will that affect the match?
I understand a lot of fans are skeptical about Roger's chances in the match and for good reason - he hasn't beaten Rafa in a Slam since 2007. I don't have unrealistic expectations and if he lost I'd still consider this tournament a success considering all that happened last year. But I have a feeling in my gut that this is Roger's time to turn the tables.
Good luck Roger. And congratulations to Stan Wawrinka for making his first Grand Slam final. Well deserved. The guy has worked so hard the last year and I wish him the best of luck in the final, whether it be against Roger or Rafa.
This is my tennis blog, Lefty Advantage. Tennis is my biggest passion in life and I started this site to discuss the great game. I mainly follow the career of Roger Federer, but I truly love watching all tennis, whether it be the final of a Grand Slam or a junior tournament on the other side of the world.
I have played tennis for 13 years. If you ever met me, I could talk your head off about all things tennis for hours on end if you would let me. Welcome, and enjoy the writing!