Rafael Nadal claimed the record-breaking 21st Major crown at the Australian Open after overpowering Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 after five hours and 24 minutes! Nadal came from two sets to love down in one of the most grueling Major finals in the Open era to top the charts and move in front of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Rafa became the second player with multiple titles at all four Majors in the Open era after Novak Djokovic and the third-oldest Australian Open winner after Roger Federer and Ken Rosewall. Both players earned 22 break chances, and Rafa delivered one return game more (seven to six) to make the crucial difference and celebrate one of the most significant victories in a career.
Troubled with a foot injury, Nadal did not know what to expect in Australia. However, he rose over all the issues and scored ten victories to fly home with two trophies in his hands. Daniil had everything in his hands while chasing the second consecutive Major title.
The Russian led 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before the Spaniard started his incredible comeback, one of the most notable ones of his career. Medvedev served at 82% in the opening set and dropped six points behind the initial shot. Rafa served at 54% and lost half of the points in his games, never finding the rhythm and getting broken twice.
The Spaniard saved two break chances at 1-1, but his game was not there, dealing with the first serve and playing passive shots. Medvedev broke at love at 2-2 after Nadal’s backhand error to forge the advantage and held at 30 to cement a 4-2 lead.
Rafa sprayed a volley error in the seventh game to experience another break and fall 5-2 behind. Serving for the set, Daniil fired a service winner for 6-2 after 42 minutes, hoping for more in the rest of the encounter. The second set lasted 84 minutes, with both players struggling to find their strokes.
Medvedev came from 5-3 down, saved a set point and claimed the breaker to forge a massive advantage. Nadal broke in the fourth game and opened a 3-1 gap after an incredible 40-stroke rally and Medvedev’s loose backhand.
From 4-1 down, Daniil broke back in game seven after forcing Rafa’s error before losing serve at 3-4 after Nadal’s drop shot winner. The Spaniard served for the set at 5-3, but it was not to be for him. He squandered a set point and allowed the Russian to seize the fifth break chance after Rafa’s poor forehand and prolong the set.
Rafael Nadal secured his 21st Major crown at the Australian Open.
The set went into a tie break, and Rafa led 5-4. Daniil stayed calm and grabbed the last three points to secure the set with a cracking backhand down the line winner that pushed him a set away from the Australian Open crown.
Medvedev brought the third set’s opening game home and had a chance to break Nadal in game six. The Spaniard defended three break chances at 2-3 for a crucial hold and held at 15 for 4-4 and momentum. The Spaniard fired a backhand down the line winner in game nine to gain the advantage and serve for the set.
After three hours and ten minutes, Rafa claimed the set with a forehand winner at 5-4 to improve his chances and gain a boost. The fourth set produced another marathon, and they traded breaks in games three and four to stay neck and neck.
The fifth game offered seven break chances for the Spaniard, and he captured the last one to open a 3-2 gap. Rafa erased two break points in game eight to remain ahead and squandered a set point on the return in the next one.
Serving at 5-4, the Spaniard held at love with a service winner to force a decider after four hours and 12 minutes, giving his everything to prevail. Daniil saved a break chance at the beginning of the fifth set before Rafa grabbed a break with a forehand down the line winner in the fifth game to move 3-2 in front.
The Spaniard saved three break points in game six, barely surviving that one and remaining in front. Medvedev held at 30 in game nine to reduce the deficit to 5-4 and received a massage on his left thigh ahead of game ten. Rafa led 30-0 and moved two points away from the title before Daniil bounced back.
The Russian claimed four straight points to grab a break after Nadal’s backhand mistake and level the score at 5-5. Still fighting hard, Rafa converted the third break chance in game 11 following his rival’s forehand mistake to open a 6-5 lead and serve for the victory for the second time.
This time, Rafa held at love with a volley at the net to seal the deal and wrap up the event with his second Australian Open crown.
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