Rafael Nadal faces new Swiss star at Australian Open final

If No. 8-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka beats Rafael Nadal to win his first major title, he catapults to a career high of No. 3 in the rankings. Just reaching the final assures Wawrinka of the No. 5 spot, meaning for the first time he will pass Roger Federer, who is now ranked sixth.

updated: January 25, 2014 16:01 IST
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Melbourne: At an Australian Open marked by upsets and new story lines, Rafael Nadal will play Sunday's final against a man often called the "other" Swiss tennis player. (Click here for latest on Australian Open)

Now, after a stunning run in Melbourne, Stanislas Wawrinka has a new nickname: The Stanimal - a tribute to his gritty, fight-until-the end style of tennis. Fittingly, perhaps, the name was apparently coined by none other than Roger Federer, in a tweet of support for his friend which quickly caught on earlier in the tournament.

Now that Federer is out of the running - he lost to Nadal in the semifinals - the 17-time Grand Slam winner and long-time ambassador for Swiss tennis has joined those cheering for Wawrinka to win his first Grand Slam final. It is a match that holds historical significance for all three players.

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