Nadal beats Federer in Australian Open
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their men's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 26, 2012.

Rafael Nadal has beaten Roger Federer in the semi-final of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The 2009 winner beat the four-times Australian Open champion 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 4-6 and now awaits the victor of Friday's second semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Nadal produced some brutal tennis to come back from a set down against his old foe, winning the third set in a hugely nervy tiebreak and then finally overcoming the brilliant Swiss icon in the fourth.

The third seed saved one match point on Nadal's serve but the Spaniard, who won his 18th match over Federer, managed to hold his nerve to win the match at the next attempt.

Immediately after the pulsating match, the ever modest Spaniard paid tribute to his long-time adversary.

"I was nervous in the tiebreak losing four sets point is tough." Nadal said. "It's always a pleasure to play Roger, thank you to the crowd also for the support.

"It's an honour to play [here] and I think it's another fantastic match. I wish him all the best for the rest of the season. I must keep learning now.

"If you told me two Sundays ago [I would be in the final] I would not imagine it, it's a dream to be in the final."

Nadal will be looking to win his 11th Grand Slam title on Sunday. Murray plays defending champions Djokovic at 830GMT on Friday.

While evidently disappointed, Federer suggested his recent run, having not lost a match in 25 outings, was bound to come to an end, particularly as Nadal had played so well.

"I haven't lost in five months or something so it's not that bad," Federer told The BBC. "Don't feel too sorry for me.

"Obviously I would have loved to have come through and gotten a crack, a chance at winning the title here again.

"I thought Rafa played well from start to finish. It was a tough match physically as well. I'm disappointed, but it's only the beginning of the season. I'm feeling all right so it's ok."