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Nadal Focuses On Improving Serve

Melbourne, Australia

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is looking to improve his serve.

Rafael Nadal knows what to expect going into a blockbuster semi-final clash against Roger Federer at the Australian Open

“We played a lot of times,” said Nadal of the pair’s 33rd meeting. “You don't need to talk about the match. I need to play my best.”

Though he leads their FedEx ATP Had2Head 22-10 with wins in their past four meetings, Nadal acknowledged that he needed to improve one key area of his game to be at his best: His serve.

The Spaniard said the shot affected his game against Grigor Dimitrov, causing him to finish with 47 unforced errors to 42 winners. He made seven double faults, including two on break points, and needed to face down three set points in the third set.

“I felt that the biggest problem was the serve because serve like this [gives] me a problem for the rest of the things,” he said. “When you lose confidence with one shot, one important shot, then you are not able to play calmly the rest of the shots.

“So I going to try to improve that. If not, I not going to have the chance to be in the final.”

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The World No. 1 has been playing with protective tape on his left hand due to blisters, and admitted it has contributed to his struggles.

“I feel that with the tape I can lose the racquet when I'm serving,” he said. “That's a terrible feeling for a serve, because then when you have this feeling you are not able to accelerate at the right moment. You lose a little bit the coordination. Yeah, that's a big deal.

“But right, I served slower. I served bad. I was able to win a match against a very difficult opponent, so that has much more value than when everything is great.”

Nadal is looking to reach the Australian Open final for a third time. He won the title in 2009 with victory over Federer, and finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic on his last visit to Melbourne in 2012.

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