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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal defeats Daniil Medvedev in five-set epic to win record 21st Grand Slam title

Rafael Nadal made history at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday as he won a historic 21st Grand Slam title, defeating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Australian Open. In a match that lasted over five hours, Nadal made an incredible turnaround to beat Medvedev 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. This was the first time in over 14 years that Nadal came from two sets down to win a Grand Slam match; the last was in the 2007 Wimbledon where he crushed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the fourth round.

Medvedev began strong in the match and took the first set 6-2 with relative ease, breaking Nadal’s serve two times and afterward serving it out in 42 minutes. Nadal’s first serve percentage was down to 54% compared with Medvedev’s 82%. The Russian then, at that point, took a 6-2, 7-6 (5) lead after the dramatic second set that saw a protester jump from the stands into the playing arena at Nadal’s end. The security sprung into action moments after the intruder got into the court and cast him out.

Nadal saved the point to get back to deuce yet wasted a set point. He then, at that point, dropped the service game to assist his rival revive. Medvedev eventually clinched the set on his first set point with a backhand passing shot on Nadal’s serve.

But Nadal, in his bid to remain alive in the contest, scripted a remarkable turnaround in the third set to win it 6-4. With three set points in hand, he battered a forehand down the line to cut Medvedev’s lead to 2 sets to 1.

Nadal proceeded on his onslaught in the fourth set and broke the Russian on his eighth attempt in a long game to take a 3-2 lead. The Spaniard was successful in holding his serve all through the set to force a decider, securing a 6-4 win in the fourth set. It was a repeat from Nadal in the fifth, where he broke Medvedev’s serve at the same stage. The Russian came close to giving back the favour however Nadal survived five break points to take a 4-2 lead. Notwithstanding, Medvedev ultimately succeeded in breaking the Spaniard when he was serving for the title.

Nadal immediately broke Medvedev’s serve again and in and finally won the final set 7-5.