Roger Federer is the 11/9 underdog to win the Australian Open men’s singles final on Sunday despite Rafael Nadal admitting his exhausting five-set victory over Grigor Dimitrov will put him at a disadvantage.
Federer was also taken to five sets by Stan Wawrinka on Thursday but the Swiss will enjoy an extra 24 hours rest than Nadal who, for television reasons, played his semi-final on Friday.
At four hours and 56 minutes, Nadal's epic 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 victory over Dimitrov took almost two hours longer than Federer's. And across the fortnight, Nadal has been on court for a total of 18 hours and 59 minutes, the equivalent of two routine matches more than Federer's 13 hours and 41 minutes.
It means Nadal is likely to be the wearier contestant in Sunday's title showdown, which could prove significant given both finalists have only recently returned from injury, yet the Spaniard has been priced up as the 69/100 favourite.
Federer, 35, is playing his first official tournament since Wimbledon last year while Nadal, 30, ended last season in October to overcome a niggling wrist problem.
Nadal's one Australian Open triumph came in 2009, when he prevailed against Federer in five sets, having gone to a decider against Fernando Verdasco in the last four.
“That what I'm going to try,” Nadal said. “I am seven, eight years older but now is not the time to talk about that. (Now it) is time to be happy, very happy.”
The match is 41/100 to go to at least four sets and Nadal is 24/5 to triumph in a decider again, with Federer 23/4 for victory in five sets.
The world number nine will now play his greatest rival Federer in a grand slam final, their ninth together, and 35th career meeting.
Nadal is closing in on a 15th major title while Federer is hoping to extend his lead on the Spaniard to four by instead claiming his 18th.