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Federer survives Wawrinka fightback to advance to Australian Open final

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Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer will attempt to win a record-stretching 18th Grand Slam title after surviving a battling performance from compatriot Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday. He will come up against either his old foe Rafael Nadal or Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov in the final on Sunday.

The 35-year-old superstar, who had returned to top-level tennis after a six-month injury lay-off, booked a spot in his 28th Grand Slam final with an inspiring victory over the 2014 title holder, Wawrinka.

Federer will now compete for his fifth crown in his sixth Australian Open final on Sunday. He will also attempt to become the first No.17 seed to win a major since American Pete Sampras won the final of the 2002 US Open.

Federer hit 47 winners, including 11 aces, in a see-saw battle that saw Wawrinka battle back from two sets to love down to force the match into a deciding fifth, but the younger Swiss failed to maintain that level of play in the final set as Federer used all his experience to overcome his Davis Cup teammate.

A delighted Federer shared after the match, "I never ever thought in my wildest dreams that I would get this far. I am so happy."

“I’ll leave it all out here in Australia. And if I can't walk for another five months, that's okay,” the veteran promised.

Looking back at the match, Federer added, “I don’t know how many break points I saved. It was tough – Stan had the upper hand in the fifth, he was reading my serve well, I just knew I had to stay in it.”