It was a battle worthy of a major final, and the world’s top two players put on a memorable performance before World No.1 Rafael Nadal triumphed world No. 2 Roger Federer 7-5 3-6 7-6(3) 3-6 6-2 after four hours and 23 minutes on court.
“[It is] very special for me. Is a dream win here, one Grand Slam on hardcourt. I worked very hard the last, well, all my life for improve the tennis outside courts, well, outside of clay,” Nadal said.
The men’s final had not extended to five sets since the first year the tournament was played at Melbourne Park, when Mats Wilander defeated Pat Cash in the 1988 decider.
Federer, meanwhile, was disappointed yet philosophical after being beaten.
“I thought it was a good match [but] I think I had, I guess, many chances. I was up a break in the first twice. Yeah, I mean, I had many chances. I missed them, and they cost me dearly,” he said.
“It was a tough match. I don’t think I served particularly well, unfortunately. And I think that was the key to the match in the end.”
For the match, Federer won 174 points to Nadal’s 173
Nadal served at 64 per cent for the match; Federer’s first serve percentage was just 52
Federer had 71 winners and 64 unforced errors, while Nadal had 50 winners and 41 unforced errors
Nadal won 27 points to 16 in the final set, which was the shortest of the match at 34 minutes
020109 sunday / info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images