World No. 1 and 13-time Grand Slam winner Nadal was first up on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday when he took on 22-year-old 22nd-seed from Bulgaria, Grigor Dimitrov.
Despite being in the first Grand Slam quarter-final of his career, Dimitrov got off to a flying start winning the first set and then had golden chances to win the third, but he couldn’t and Nadal capitalised to end up winning the match 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7), 6-2.
It was then time for the 21st meeting between 17-time Grand Slam winner Federer and reigning Wimbledon champion and three-time Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray.
Murray had won three of the last four meetings against Federer overall but Federer held the edge in Grand Slams including winning the Wimbledon final in 2012 and Australian Open final in 2010.
The Swiss 32-year-old came out inspired to start the match before the Scot fired back to win the third set, but Federer responded to win the fourth and take out the match 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3.
The results on Wednesday now set up a mouth-watering semi-final between Nadal and Federer in what will be the 33rd all-time for the pair with the Spaniard having won the last four, and the last in the majors in the semi finals of the 2012 Australian Open.
Even though Nadal managed to beat Dimitrov in four sets after going down one set to love, without question the way the 22-year-old Bulgarian played those first three sets shows just how far he has matured and how far his game has come.
Despite now being eliminated from the Australian Open, it was already his first quarter-final at a Grand Slam and if he can keep his focus, there's no question plenty of major titles are in his future over the next decade.
However, for now it's Nadal's time to be winning Grand Slams and after finding a way to win the second and third set tie-breaks, including after conceding set points in the third, he dominated the fourth set to book himself in for a semi-final berth.
It was a blistering first set of tennis from Dimitrov as he showed no signs whatsoever of being overawed of the occasion of his first quarter-final and by being up against a rampant world No. 1 at the other end.
Dimitrov slammed down eight aces and didn’t lose a single point on his first serve for the entire opening set while also winning five points at the net, hitting 14 winners and breaking Nadal's serve to win it six games to three.
Each man managed a break of serve in the second set as it headed into the tie-break and some more unforced errors began to creep into Dimitrov's game.
The 22-year-old had 19 alone for the second set and Nadal was able to win it seven points to three with the third set then also going into a tie-break.
Nadal looked in control of the tie-break leading 5-3, but Dimitrov found something to win the next three points. He then led 7-6 with a backhand volley winner, but the Spaniard dug in and with an unforced backhand error from Dimitrov, Nadal took the tie-break nine points to seven.
That gave him a two sets to one lead and everyone, including probably Dimitrov, knew that Nadal simply doesn’t lose from that position, and he didn’t winning the fourth set emphatically 6-2 in 46 minutes.
Federer then got off to a flying start breaking Murray on his second service game to up a 3-1 first set lead and then run out with the set six games to three.
It took a bit longer for the break of serve to come in the second set, but against it was Federer who got the better of Murray's service and went on to claim the set 6-4 to go up two sets to love against a man who has made three of the last four Australian Open finals.
Federer again had break point opportunities on Murray's first two service games of the third set, but he couldn’t take advantage.
However, the Swiss master persisted and eventually broke Murray's serve in the ninth game of the set to give him the chance to serve for the match.
The break came courtesy of some controversy, though, with Federer chasing down a drop shot that appeared bounce twice, but that's not how it was called and it had a big say in the break of serve.
Murray was fired up next game and quickly opened up two break points, but he hadn’t broken Federer all night.
In fact, Federer hadn’t had his serve broken for 50 straight games but Murray is no ordinary opponent and pulled it off tie the set back up at 5-5.
Both men then held serve to send the set into a tie-break where Federer opened up a 5-2, and then 6-4 lead with him again serving for the match.
Murray saved the first match point and then a second on his own serve with the tie-break again level at 6-6.
The Scotsman then also won the next two points to take the tie-break eight points to six and force at least a fourth set.
Murray started the fourth set well on Federer's service game, but couldn’t manage to break and then in the second game suddenly the Swiss was up 0-40.
The Brit world No. 4 saved all three break points, though, and it turned into a marathon second game of the fourth set lasting almost 20 minutes before Murray eventually held serve.
It was yet another marathon service game for Murray that he eventually held on in to level things at 3-3, but Federer's persistence paid off.
He held serve to lead 4-3, then broke Murray to lead 5-3 and then served out the match to win the fourth set 6-3 to move into the semi finals to set up his clash with Nadal.