Updated: 01/26/2014 19:00 | By Agence France-Presse

Nadal wins third set of Australian Open final

Rafael Nadal staved off a painful lower back injury to take the third set of the Australian Open men's singles final against Stanislas Wawrinka on Sunday.

Nadal wins third set of Australian Open final

Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in the men's singles final at the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne on January 26, 2014 - by Paul Crock

Nadal, who needed repeated treatment during the second set as he went 2-0 down, recovered to win the third 6-3 and take the final into a fourth set.

The world number one was struggling badly during the second set but he started moving better in the third and was hitting shots past Wawrinka, who appeared unsettled by the turn of events.

Nadal entered as the hot favourite in his 19th Grand Slam final against eighth seed Wawrinka, 28, who is contesting his first major title match.

The Spaniard has previously been plagued by injuries at the season's first Grand Slam. He missed the 2006 and 2013 editions, and had to retire injured in 2010 while playing Andy Murray.

Nadal was also hit by a leg muscle strain in his 2011 quarter-final loss at Melbourne Park to David Ferrer.

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