Swiss ace believes he has shot at title
ROGER Federer has endured more than his usual share of adversity since winning Wimbledon in 2012, his 17th grand slam title.
Last year was his worst on tour in more than a decade. He won just one tournament, on grass in Halle, Germany.
Now the 32-year-old can sense the chance to secure an 18th major is just around the corner.
After getting past Andy Murray in four sets in Wednesday night's quarter-final, Federer now faces his old nemesis, world No.1 Rafael Nadal, in tonight's Australian Open semi-final.
And the Swiss champion said he was really happy with the way he had turned his game around under new coach, former tour star Stefan Edberg.
"Physically, I know that I can do it," Federer said. "And then because I'm feeling good physically, then I can really think about tactics I want to play, how aggressive or how passive do you want to play. I have all these opportunities now."
The No.6 seed also said he was confident he could win another grand slam before he called it a day, despite suggestions his best was behind him.
"I still love competition. I still feel maybe there's something big around the corner," Federer said.
"I'm just trying to find out and see if that's the case. I do feel it is. But only time will tell if it's possible or not."
The pair has met 32 times, with Nadal holding an impressive 22-10 lead.
But after struggling with blisters on his fingers and in the palm of his left hand during this tournament, Nadal admitted the difficulties he has had serving has contributed to problems in other parts of his game.
"When you lose confidence with one shot, one important shot, then you are not able to play calmly the rest of the shots," he said.
"So, I (am) going to try to improve that (the serve). If not, I'm not going to have the chance to be in the final."
Nadal is looking to reach the Australian Open final for just the third time. He won the title in 2009 with victory over Federer, and finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in a five-set marathon on his last visit to Melbourne in 2012.
Federer has claimed the title at Melbourne Park four times, the last occasion being in 2010 when he beat a tearful Andy Murray.
Meanwhile, China's Li Na will play in her third Australian Open women's final after downing 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-4 yesterday.
Li, who lost to Victoria Azarenka in last year's decider, will take on Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in tomorrow's final after the No.20 seed breezed past Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-2.
Li will have a decided experience advantage having won the French Open in 2011, while the diminutive Cibulkova will be playing in her first grand slam decider.