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Australian Open 2014: Rafael Nadal Reaches Semi-Finals Despite Blister (PICTURES)

22/01/2014 10:12 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT

Rafael Nadal survived a serious examination by Grigor Dimitrov - and a nasty blister - to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

The Spaniard began the match as the only member of the world's top three in either the men's or women's draw still in the tournament, and for a long time his place looked far from secure.

Nadal did not find anything like his best form throughout the match but Dimitrov's inexperience showed at the crucial moments.

rafael nadal blister

Nadal progressed through to the last four despite a blister on his hand

The 22-year-old held three set points in the third set but missed them all and it was Nadal who moved through to the last four with a 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (9/7) 6-2 victory.

rafael nadal blister

Nadal checks the extent of his injury

"I was so lucky," said Nadal. "Especially on one set point, he missed an easy one. The fourth set was for me and I'm very happy for that. I love this tournament. I'm very happy to be in the semi-finals after missing it last year. I suffered a lot."

rafael nadal blister

The Spaniard was allowed treatment to ease the pain in his hand

Nadal had struggled against Kei Nishikori in round four, with the large blister on the palm of his left hand proving particularly troublesome.

rafael nadal blister

Nadal shows off the damage at his post-match press conference

And the problem resurfaced during his victory over Dimitrov, but the world No.1 prevailed yet again.