Federer's recent history - not having played in an ATP tournament for six months, having not won a major since 2012 (in which time Wawrinka has won all three of his grand slam titles) - clearly counted for less than the history between the players. The main difference? Nadal in a black headband and Federer in a white headband.
As the clock ticked past midnight and the match approached its fifth hour, Nadal drew on all his experience to prise a break in the ninth game and a chance to serve for the match.
"Finally, (it) was me". Nadal has won nine of the previous 11 encounters, including the last six in a row. The Spaniard managed to strike back with a break in the first game of the second set but failed to close it out. But World No 15 Dimitrov fought back to take the second set 7-5.
Together, they've won 31 Grand Slam titles.
If Nadal wins, he will become only the third man to win all four Grand Slam tournaments a few times.
If Nadal wins, he will be #4 in the ATP rankings.
Down 15-40 in the eighth game, Nadal strung up four straight winners, capping it with a blistering forehand volley to level it at 4-all.
2004 Miami Masters, hard-outdoor, R32, Nadal, 6-3, 6-3.
They were hurriedly dropped back into the files, however, as it became apparent the duo were playing vintage tennis: Federer all fluidity and peerless shot-making, Nadal at his brutal best from the baseline.
Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal, 2017 Australian Open Finals
The Spanish 14-time grand slam champion was forced into a titanic battle on Rod Laver Arena before winning 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 in four hours and 56 minutes. Nadal will be serving for the set now.
Philippoussis believes the faster conditions this year, and lighter balls, presents Federer with a golden opportunity to atone for his shattering five-set loss to the Spaniard in the 2009 final at Melbourne Park. If I had to go one over the other, I'd go slightly Rafa but it wouldn't surprise me to see Roger come out on top.
But after his first victor gets past a lunging Nadal, Federer will be all set to go once again, summoning strokes and passes from his incredible memory.
Bulgarian right-hander Dimitrov had beaten Nadal for the first time in eight attempts a year ago and started in confident fashion, taking the first two points from the Spaniard's serve before Nadal held on.
He will now face Federer in a final that harks back to one of sport's great rivalries.
Has a professional era record of 65 consecutive wins on grass, which was ended by Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final.
After Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic made early exits, fans have been waiting with bated breath, hoping against all hope that they could see Federer and Nadal crossing swords in a Grand Slam final again. Nadal outlasted Grigor Dimitrov in an almost five-hour match Friday.
Federer booked a spot in his 24th Grand Slam final on Thursday, beating Stan Wawrinka in five sets.
He is the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Ken Rosewall, a US Open finalist in 1975 aged 39 years and 310 days.