Competing in his fourth Major final, Daniil Medvedev had everything in his hands against Rafael Nadal in Sunday's Australian Open title clash. The Russian led 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before wasting those three break chances in the third set's sixth game.
Rafa got back into the match to celebrate a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph in five hours and 24 minutes and lift the 21st Major crown! John McEnroe did not expect that outcome, saying that Medvedev missed a massive opportunity and choked in that crucial sixth game of set number three.
Nadal did not play well in the opener, and he failed to serve out for the second set to find himself miles behind ahead of set number three. The Spaniard faced those three break points in the third set's sixth game, and it would have been over for him had he lost any of those points.
In a manner of a true champion, Nadal survived that game and claimed a break in game nine to grab the set and improve his chances. Things became serious when Rafa broke twice in the fourth set and forced a decider, where he opened a 5-3 lead.
Medvedev broke back in game ten to lock the result at 5-5, only to lose the next two games and propel Nadal over the finish line.
John McEnroe shared his thoughts about an epic Australian Open final.
"The turning point of the match was when Rafa served at 2-3 in the third.
It felt like Rafa felt deflated. I do not want to say he was resigned because he never is, but it looked like he expected that this was about to happen and that he would end up losing in straight sets. I think Medvedev played a couple, I do not want to say careless, but maybe loose points.
He got a little tentative because he could taste the finish line. And then, suddenly, it allowed the crowd back into the match because obviously, the crowd was a significant factor. Then he started to show his edginess and frustration with the crowd, which made it worse for him.
That was the turning point. As soon as that slight momentum shift occurred, Daniil started to get tight. He choked in the third set at that point, as he should have been 4-2 in front. But once he let Rafa back in, that allowed the crowd to get back in, which was one of the most extraordinary efforts I have ever seen," John McEnroe said.