(January 30, 2022) Rafael Nadal now stands alone as male all-time record for major tournament titles. The 35-year-old Spaniard rallied from two sets down to topple No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 for his second Australian Open crown on Sunday night in Melbourne. In his 29th major final, the victory also gives Nadal a second set of major titles, joining Novak Djokovic in the Open Era. It’s also his 90th tour title.
Nadal is the third man at 35 or over to claim a major title, joining Federer and Ken Rosewall. It’s his seventh major since turning 30.
It’s just the third time in his career at a major that he’s rallied from two sets down to win a match.
The first set saw the Russian break the 35-year-old Nadal twice at love to win the set 6-2. The second set was a topsy-turvy affair with Nadal taking a break to lead 4-1 and served for the set at 5-3 but could not serve out the set. Medvedev got the set to a tiebreak in which Nadal held a 5-3 lead but lost the next four straight points to lose the set 7-6(5).
During the second set, security had to detain a protestor who ran on court carrying a banner saying: “Abolish Refugee Detention.”
The third set stayed close, with Nadal escaping 0-40 in the sixth game to hold for 3-3. Nadal got the best of Medvedev in the ninth game, breaking serve for a 5-4 lead and closing out the set 6-4.
In the fourth set Nadal and Medvedev exchanged breaks for 2-2, but Nadal broke again for a 4-2 lead. The Spaniard saved break points to get to 5-3 and held to serve out the set at 6-4 to draw even at two sets-all.
Nadal broke through on Medvedev’s serve in the fifth game to a take a 3-2 lead but had to fight off break points in the very next gave to stop Medvedev’s momentum. Medvedev broke Nadal’s serve as the Spaniard served for the title but broke right back and held on to win 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
“Tough to talk after 5 hours 30 and losing,” said Medvedev during the trophy ceremony. “But I want to congratulate Rafa because what he did today, I was amazed. “During the match I just tried to play tennis but after the match I asked him, like, ‘Are you tired?’ Because it was insane.”
“One month and a half ago, I thought maybe there is a chance that it was going to be my last Australian Open but now that’s given me plenty of energy to keep going,” said Nadal during the trophy presentation. I’m going to keep trying my best to keep coming back next year.”
More to follow……