In the last five years, Rafael Nadal played two five-set matches in the Australian Open finals. The Spaniard suffered a narrow loss to Roger Federer in 2017 despite leading in the final set, and he barely escaped the same fate in this year's title clash against Daniil Medvedev.
Five years ago, two great rivals met in their first Major final since Roland Garros 2011. After three hours and 38 minutes, Federer prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6- 3 in three hours and 38 minutes, erasing an early deficit in the decider to emerge on top.
Rafa stayed level in the ninth game of the fourth set to force a decider and opened up an early lead in the final set. The Spaniard saved a break point to open a 3-1 gap, but instead of staying in front, he squandered a game point and got broken at 3-2.
Federer broke again in game eight to open a 5-3 gap and fended off two break chances in game nine to emerge on top and secure the first Major crown in almost half a decade. Nadal played another incredible Australian Open final ten days ago against Daniil Medvedev, beating the Russian 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in five hours and 24 minutes.
Rafa barely prevailed in the second-longest Major final, losing 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before pulling off one of the best comebacks of his career to secure his 21st Major. Nadal saved those three break points in the sixth game of the third set and mustered momentum to win sets three and four.
The Spaniard built the lead in the decider, like against Federer five years ago, and served for the title at 5-4. Making one last push, Medvedev pulled back to secure the result at 5-5 before Nadal took another break in game 11 and sealed the deal a few minutes later on serve from him for a grand celebration.
Kasatkina opens up on Nadal
In a recent interview with Eurosport, Daria Kasatkina showered praise on Rafael Nadal. "I was overwhelmed with emotions from Rafa's tears. Seeing at 35 a man who has been playing tennis for 20 years and has taken everything he can, has reached all sorts of heights, it is impossible to react differently," said Kasatkina.
The Russian stressed that it was quite evident from the tears in Nadal's eyes how significant the title was for him. She also stated that Nadal's journey encourages her a lot since she has also mostly been "sick" since her childhood.
"He even reached the final with tears in his eyes. He has so many emotions. You can see how important it is for him, what he went through for this. It delights me and as a person who has been sick since the cradle, it inspires me," added the World No. 22."