In a fantastic final showdown at Melbourne on Sunday, Roger Federer pulled off a thrilling five-set victory over rival Rafael Nadal to win a record-breaking 18th Grand Slam title and a first title for him in five years.
The 35-year-old Swiss won 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 to claim his fifth Australian Open title and extend his lead at the top of the all-time men’s major winners’ list, followed by Nadal tied in second with Pete Sampras on 14 Grand Slams.
The World No. 17 came to Melbourne having recovered from a knee injury that kept him away from the second half of 2016 season after a semi-final defeat at Wimbledon in July. He enjoyed an incredible two weeks to lift his first major title since Wimbledon 2012.
On Saturday, at the Women’s Singles final, Record-breaker Serena Williams became the most successful woman in the Open Era after defeating sister Venus to grab her 23rd Grand Slam title; and 24hrs later, Federer extends his lead at the top of the men’s game.
Nadal, 30, emerged runner-up, but didn’t fail to congratulate champion Federer after the match.
“First of all, can I say congrats to Roger and all his team. Just amazing the way that he is playing after such a long time without being on the tour. It’s very difficult to make that happen. I feel very happy for you.
“For me, personally, it has been a great month. for the first time in my career I spend one full month here, in Brisbane, then Sydney and here. It’s been amazing for me, I really enjoyed this beautiful country and the fantastic people, supporting all the events,” he stated.
Federer, who praised the fans and commended Nadal’s team also for a great work, said he wouldn’t have been sad if he had lost to the World No. 9.
“I’m out of words and Rafa said so many great things. I’d like to congratulate Rafa on an amazing comeback,” Federer said as he receives the title.
“I don’t think either one of us believed we’d be in the finals in Australia when we saw each other at your academy four, five months ago. And here we stand. I am happy for you. I would have been happy to lose to you. The comeback was perfect.”
Ultimately, Nadal still leads in the head-to-head against Federer. Federer has never beaten Nadal at Melbourne Park, and in Slam finals, Nadal has won six times while Federer has won three times. However, this is their first meeting in the final since French Open 2011.
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