Nadal and Sharapova make finals

WORLD No2 Rafael Nadal took a step closer to an 11th grand slam title yesterday after he recovered from a set down to beat long-time rival Roger Federer and book a place in Sunday’s Australian Open final.

Federer won a tense first set on a tie-break, but the Spaniard roared back with typical determination to take the next three and extend his impressive winning record against the Swiss to 18 victories in 27 clashes.

“Two Sundays ago I couldn’t imagine being in the final. It’s a dream,” said Nadal, who came into the tournament with nagging doubts hanging over his fitness.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova beat Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the women’s final where she will face Victoria Azarenka, who overcame last year’s Aussie Open winner Kim Clijsters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.