Australian Open final: Rafael Nadal trumps Daniil Medvedev in classic to win 21st Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final despite trailing 2-0 after the first two sets, thus winning his 21st Grand Slam.

Rafael Nadal clinched the Australian Open in grand fashion. (Twitter: @AustralianOpen)

Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open final on Sunday (January 30) to become the first male player in history to win 21 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller 2-6, (5)6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 despite trailing 2-0 after the first two sets.

Medvedev came out of the gates in full force, pushing Nadal on the defensive and easily taking the first set. He then showed plenty of fight to take the second set to a tie-breaker which he also won.

But at 2 sets down, Nadal fought back hard. A late break in the third set saw him claw one back. And he carried on the momentum, easily taking the fourth set.

The fifth set was going the same way before a late Medvedev break threatened to change the course of the match. But Nadal broke back and held serve to become a history maker.

Before this, Nadal was tied at 20 Grand Slam wins with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. He is now the first of the vaunted ‘Big Three’ to have surpassed the 20-Slam mark.

Dominant Medvedev takes first two sets in contrasting fashion

The first set went Medvedev’s way in quite simple fashion. It was Nadal who started the set, and he held serve until the score was 2-2.

However, it is clear that Medvedev looked the more comfortable of the two and a break looked in the offing.

As it turns out, the Russian went one better – he broke Nadal twice and won five games on the trot to take the first set.

Medvedev took the first three points of the game and then, without slipping, sealed the game.

He then held serve before once again breaking Nadal, again taking the game having raced to a 0-40 lead. And Medvedev sealed the first set 6-2 by easily holding serve.

Yet if the first set was a sprint, the second was a marathon. Nadal was clearly struggling for momentum early, but managed to hold his first two serves.

But the tide turned when the Spaniard broke serve despite being forced to play some particularly long rallies. He then took the lead in the set by holding serve with ease.

Yet Medvedev was not down by a long shot. He held his own serve and then broke back, levelling the set again. But in another twist, Nadal followed this up with another break.

Undeterred, the 2021 US Open champion broke back again – and the two held serve to take the set to a tie-break.

Nadal started the tie-break well and raced to a 5-3 lead. However, Medvedev fought back to win 4 of the next 5 points and take the tie-breaker – and the set.

At this point, the Russian looked in control of the Australian Open final. But it wasn’t over yet.

Nadal Seals Australian Open final comeback for the ages

Nadal, is well-known for being able to gut his way through the toughest of circumstances. And this was no different.

The third set saw both players stubbornly fight to hold serve. Both of them won 4 games each, although there were moments when both looked likely to break.

Yet the first break point to be converted in the set came when Nadal broke Medvedev in the 9th game. The timing could not have been better; Nadal was suddenly serving for the set.

And he did not blow his chance at clawing back the deficit, duly holding serve to take the set 6-4. And then another factor came into play – Medvedev getting annoyed by the crowd’s heckling.

The firmly pro-Nadal crowd did not hesitate to needle Medvedev and it did affect him. And Nadal, with momentum on his side, looked much better in the fourth set.

Nadal broke early this time and then held on to his advantage to take the fourth set. It was something no one expected after he trailed in the first two, yet a decider was now incoming.

Yet while the Spaniard cruised through the majority of the set – and was serving for the championship at 5-4 up – he slipped up momentarily.

Medvedev, sensing the title was slipping away, worked an opening when he broke Nadal back. But the veteran broke back and then held serve with minimal fuss to write his name in the history books.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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