Australian Open: Rafael Nadal first to 21st

Rafael Nadal fights back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev and claim the Australian Open title

Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev to win Australian Open

Rafael Nadal made history at the Australian Open as he became the first men’s player to win 21 Grand Slam titles.

Under the lights on Rod Laver Arena, the legendary Spaniard demonstrated his trademark big-match mentality, overcoming Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to win the trophy in front of a raucous crowd in a Melbourne classic.

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The sixth seed fired 67 winners, closed the net effectively to shorten the points and broke seven times to triumph after five hours and 25 minutes.

Prior to January, Nadal had not competed in a tour-level event since Washington in August due to a foot injury.

But the Spaniard has played as if he has never been away in Australia, with his win over the Russian extending his perfect 2022 record to 10-0.

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The 35-year-old, who earned his 89th tour-level title at the Melbourne Summer Set earlier this month, was tested to his limits en route to the championship match.

He clawed past Denis Shapovalov in five sets in the quarter-finals, before he downed seventh-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals.

However, he kept enough fuel in the tank to dig deep one final time against Medvedev to claim victory.

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The 35-year-old is the third-oldest man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title after Ken Rosewall and fierce rival Roger Federer.