Thirteen years after capturing his first Australian Open championship, Rafael Nadal has defeated all challengers Down Under once more. And this time, he stands alone atop men’s tennis perch.
Nadal mounted a remarkable comeback to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Sunday—2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-5—to secure his second Australian Open crown and 21st career Grand Slam, breaking a tie he previously held with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most in men’s tennis history.
The win did not appear to be in the cards for the 35-year-old Spaniard, particularly following an 84-minute second set that Medvedev won after a 7-5 tiebreaker. But Nadal climbed back into the match in the third and fourth sets, his legs outlasting Medvedev’s to force a decisive fifth set.
Nadal broke Medvedev’s serve in the fifth game of the fifth set, then served for the win up 5-4 before squandering an opportunity and dropping the game. He recovered to break Medvedev’s serve in the 11th game, then held serve for the win in the 12th. It was Nadal’s first time winning a best-of-five match after dropping the first two sets since the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2007.
In addition to his 13 French Open championships, Nadal has won the U.S. Open four times and at Wimbledon twice. Before Sunday, the Australian Open was the only Slam he had yet to win multiple times.
This was Medvedev’s second consecutive defeat in the Australian Open final after losing last year to Djokovic in straight sets.
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