Rafael Nadal
Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Berdych of the Czech Republic in their quarter-finals match at the Australian Open in Melbourne. REUTERS

Rafael Nadal will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open after the pair came through wildly contrasting matches in the last eight.

The duo set up their first semi-final clash in a slam for seven years on Thursday after Federer beat Juan Martin del Potro and Nadal battled past Tomas Berdych.

The last time these two met in Australia, Nadal triumphed in five sets and their meeting in the last-four later this week promises to be just as explosive.

Switzerland's Federer has been magnificent throughout the first week in Melbourne and never more so than during his 6-4 6-3 6-2 win over del Potro.

The world No.3 unfurled his full repertoire on del Potro and was never in danger of relinquishing his record of not losing a set in Melbourne.

"I thought it was a great match," the 16-time Grand Slam champion told the BBC after the match.

"I'm happy. It was tough with the sun and shade creeping across the court. Del Potro is a quality player and I was able to manoeuvre the ball around the court. I hope I can keep it up."

Meanwhile, Nadal crackled through his 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 6-3, four hour clash with Berdych to banish any lingering doubts over his continued passion for the game.

Number seven seed Berdych let slip a set point when leading 1-0 and Nadal took advantage, sweeping his opponent aside in the tie-break before sealing the last two sets.

"Tired. But hopefully I am fine," Nadal told the BBC.

"The second set was key for me and I resisted well in the third and fourth sets after four hours of intense battle and I am happy how I finished physically."

Second seed Nadal, who had triumphed in the previous nine encounters between the pair, recovered well from three break points in game 12 of the first set to take it into a tie-break but went one-down when Berdych kept his composure to serve out the set.

The Spaniard opened up a 3-1 lead early in the second but Berdych responded to level the set at 5-5 before he squandered a set point to gift Nadal a way back into the match.

Both players vied for domination in an engaging third set as first Berdych and then Nadal opened up two-game advantages. The Spaniard eventually broke twice to serve out the set.

The impetus was now with Nadal and a double-fault by the Czech in his first service game of the fourth was all the Spaniard needed to close out the set and with it the match.