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Australian Open 2017: Roger Federer Beats Rafael Nadal to Win Record-Extending 18th Slam

Roger Federer turned back the clock in his signature style as he beat long-time rival Rafael Nadal in a gruelling five-set encounter to clinch the 2017 Australian Open men's singles title at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

News18 Sports

Updated:January 29, 2017, 7:02 PM IST
Australian Open 2017: Roger Federer Beats Rafael Nadal to Win Record-Extending 18th Slam
Roger Federer reacts after winning the Australian Open 2017 title. (Getty Images)

Melborune: Roger Federer turned back the clock in his signature style as he beat long-time rival Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in a gruelling five-set encounter to clinch the 2017 Australian Open men's singles title at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

This is Federer's 5th Australian Open title and the Swiss has now taken his career tally grand slam victories to a record extending 18. Prior to the clash, Nadal held the edge over Federer — at least on paper — with a 23-11 win-loss record to his name.

But Fedex tore apart that paper, as he had brought along his own script to change history, which wasn't in his favour as Nadal held the edge over the Swiss master in slam finals as well. This is also Federer's first Grand Slam victory since Wimbledon 2012.

"Tennis is a tough sport, there's no draws. But if there was going to be one I would have been very happy to accept a draw tonight and share it with Rafa, really," Federer said, as he accepted the trophy from Australian legend Rod Laver.

"Keep playing please, Rafa. Tennis needs you."

"It's amazing how well he's playing after being away for so long. For sure, you have been working a lot to make that happen. I am very happy for you," Nadal told the crowd.

"It was a good month for me, amazing month for me, really enjoyed it. I worked very hard to be where I am today. Probably Roger deserved it a little bit more than me," said the Spaniard

The start of the first set was a very even affair as both Nadal and Federer managed to hold on to their respective serves for the first six games, as if the duo was measuring each other up. The moment of the set arrived when two uncharacteristic backhand unforced errors in the seventh game by Nadal helped Federer break the Spaniard's serve to draw first blood.

The 35-year-old also sent down aces at will and held his two serves to clinch the first set 6-4 in just 34 minutes and raise hopes of the Swiss army as Nadal looked for inspiration.

But the Spaniard is known for his ability to grind it out under pressure and this is what he did. The 30-year old broke Federer's serve twice in the second set to take a 4-0 lead, showing yet again why he is hailed as the king of comebacks.

Just when it seemed Nadal will close the set with ease, Federer managed to bring out his trademark forehand winners to break the Spaniard’s serve. Fedex then held his serve to make it 4-2 and for the first time in the set, Nadal was under the pump.

Australian Open 2017, Men's Singles Final: As It Happened

But the gap in the set was too extreme — even for someone like Federer — as Nadal held his serve in game nine to clinch the second set 6-3 in 41 minutes.

The Rafa-Roger clashes are known for being topsy-turvy in nature and this match brought back similar memories as the third set was all about Roger Federer's class. After conceding the second set, Federer made amends by bringing out his 'A' game that left the jam packed Rod Laver Arena stunned.

Nadal could manage to win just one game as Federer romped home to win the third set 6-1 in 42 minutes and looked on course for a record-extending 18th grand slam title.

The Mallorcan may have been down but he wasn't out of the final as he hit back spectacularly in the fourth set. Also, Federer's backhand deserted him at the wrong time as the Swiss had his serve broken to give Nadal a 3-1 edge in the set.

Both players held their respective serves from there on as Nadal forced the match into the decider by winning the fourth set 6-3 in 37 minutes.

Federer went off the court for a short while owing to injury break and the restart couldn't have been worse for the Swiss.

Nadal earned a massive advantage in the final set as he broke Federer in the very first game. But Federer added another chapter into this epic by breaking back Nadal to make it 3-3.

The 35-year-old held his serve to go 4-3 up and Rafa's double fault in his serve gifted Federer three break points. But Nadal held his nerves and won three successive points to somehow make it 40-40.

The two old warriors then played out a spectacular 26 shot rally which was eventually won by Federer.

The Swiss finally broke Nadal for the second time in the set to go 5-3 up and handing himself the chance to serve for the title.

Federer held his serve to win the Championship and extend his record for most Grand Slam titles to 18.

Federer also becomes the first man in history to win five or more titles at three different Grand Slam events. He has won five Australian Opens, seven Wimbledons, five US Opens and one French Open.

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| Edited by: Pratik Sagar
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