On Sunday, Rafael Nadal received the Australian Open in an epic five-set match in opposition to Daniil Medvedev.
Nadal’s nice victory at Melbourne Park means he stands alone within the males’s recreation, with a document twenty-one main rely.
The Spaniard now seems dominant among the many large three, with Roger Federer securing his twentieth at Melbourne Park in 2018, whereas Djokovic claimed his at Wimbledon final 12 months.
The race for the primary slam of 2022 tightened when prime gamers confronted one another within the second week. After equalising at two units all, Denis Shapovalov got here tantalisingly near beating Nadal within the quarter-finals. However Nadal crushed his opponent with highly effective serves and early forehands.
Rafa was up in opposition to Matteo Berrettini within the semi-finals, who may solely scrape a set in opposition to Nadal’s consistency and astute shot-making.
Medvedev’s journey into the ultimate, nevertheless, was harder. Felix Auger-Aliassime got here storming out in opposition to Medvedev, reaching daring passing pictures and winners early on. However after experiencing a two-set deficit, the Russian turned up the aggression and hit with ferocity. He finally blasted his opponent away within the final two video games of the match.
Medvedev then confronted NextGen rival Stefanos Tsitsipas within the semi-finals, outfoxing him with nice agility and tenacious defence.
Going into the match’s final match, each gamers knew it could be a battle of bodily exertion. Their duel on the 2019 US Open last went to 5 units and was over 4 hours lengthy.
The match lasted over 5 hours right here in Melbourne, as Medvedev sipped ‘Pickle Juice’ to stop cramp, and gallant ball boys mopped up Nadal’s sweat throughout changeovers.
Within the first two units, it appeared as if Medvedev would shut out a victory with ease. The Russian’s pinpoint accuracy on the backhand was near the road and too far for Nadal to trace down within the rallies.
Nadal additionally performed extra defensively, permitting Medvedev to return ahead onto the baseline and dictate play. The backhand slices from Nadal floated gently in direction of Medvedev, who had time to run round and use his forehand, placing Nadal in additional problem.
Within the final level of the second set tiebreak, Nadal determined to return in in direction of a brief ball and volley it away, however the shot sat up for Medvedev, who made a down the road passing shot with ease.
Nadal mentally regrouped and sparkled with recent vitality in the beginning of set three. He stayed nearer to the baseline for extra aggressive shot-making and have become higher on the internet, slicing volleys out of Medvedev’s attain.
He additionally did a greater job of utilizing the complete width of the court docket, shifting Medvedev laterally behind the road, making for a simple winner into open area, or eliciting a pressured error. Nadal stepped-up the assault, portray the traces with inside-in forehands or going for fast one-two punches after a robust, flat first serve.
Nadal confronted an early break-point in his first service recreation within the fourth set, however Medvedev didn’t convert by netting a backhand groundstroke.
After surviving the sport, Nadal appeared to chill out and play with extra tactical variation by including drop pictures. These had blended outcomes. Typically they caught Medvedev off-guard, however typically the Russian stepped to them with alarming velocity and racquet management to take the purpose from Nadal.
The fifth set went right down to the wire with Nadal serving for the championship at 5-4 however couldn’t maintain. After slamming his personal backhand into the online and a double fault, it was Medvedev’s probability to get the higher hand at 5-5.
The stress maybe bought to Medvedev a bit of, as a stray forehand crusing lengthy behind the baseline handed Nadal one other break and probability to serve out the match.
After an ace on 30-0 gave Rafa three match factors, his victory appeared inevitable. A excessive serve to Medvedev’s backhand was met by a mid-court response which Nadal pounced on, hitting the ball together with his trademark whipped forehand, earlier than ending the purpose with a spin-laden volley.
2022 Australian Open Closing Highlights
Twenty-one main trophies is a feat to be celebrated in our sport.
Traditionally the grand slam tally between the massive three has been used as a key metric to find out who’s the best of all time.
However now, with Novak Djokovic rumoured to be making his first look of the season in Dubai, Nadal should carry on prime kind to stop the Serb from equalling his success.
Whereas youthful gamers like Medvedev proceed to develop in their very own achievements on-court, with the French Open across the nook, maybe this 12 months will see Nadal and Djokovic battle as soon as once more for final supremacy.
What do you consider Nadal’s victory – can he proceed his kind into the remainder of the 12 months? And can Djokovic repeat his Roland Garros win and degree Nadal at twenty-one slams? Let me know within the feedback under.