As the clock ticked past midnight in Melbourne, the Spaniard won in five hours after coming back from two sets behind
Rafael Nadal won the record 21st Grand Slam, beating Daniil Medvedev in five sets. This was in an incredible Australian Open final at Melbourne Park.
The players battled it out in front of an awestruck audience at Rod Laver Arena. Before the Spaniard won, they split by three sets (2-6, 66-7, 6-4 and 6-4, respectively, 7-5).
It was also the first ever time Nadal won one of tennis’s four major events, coming from behind in two sets.
It ended at 1am local time, making it the second-longest Grand Slam final.
Nadal has now surpassed Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the overall lead in Grand Slam titles.
Medvedev was the stronger of the two and took the first set in comfort fashion.
Nadal saved two breakpoints in a third game, but was then broken to love by Medvedev in the fifth. A section of the crowd booed Medvedev onto the court, and he proved to be the steadier from the baseline.
Medvedev then served the set at 6-2 with successive double faults.
Nadal started to play offensively in the second sets and twice broke the Medvedev serve.
Medvedev was unable to hold his own and he twice responded. He saved a point at 5-3, before resetting the level.
They entered a tiebreak, with Nadal leading 5-3. However, Medvedev produced a string of fine points to take 7-5. The match ended with a backhand play and was taunted by the crowd.
Nadal hadn’t won a match after losing two sets to Mikhail Youzhny in 2007. He also lost his physical strength against Denis Shapovalov, Matteo Berrettini and Matteo Berrettini.
However, his competitive drive has not been in question and he recovered from 0-40 at 2-3 to hold.
Medvedev began to look tired and confused in his shot selections, so Nadal took control at 4-4 and served the set 6-4.
Medvedev allowed himself to be more wound up in the crowd and appealed repeatedly to John Blom, the umpire, to take control. “idiots”.
He was still not at his best when he double-faulted to drop service in the third set. However, he quickly got back on track and Nadal won the seventh game point.
Nadal set up a point on his opponent’s serve at 5.3. Medvedev saved it, but the Spaniard champion won it 6-4 on his serve to even the contest.
In the fifth game, Medvedev was broken by the Spaniard. Medvedev served for the match at 5-4.
Nadal won the set 7-5, but Nadal held serve in the 12th to win it. This gave him his 21st Grand Slam championship.