Playing his sixth Australian Open final, Rafael Nadal stood on the verge of the fifth straight loss a couple of weeks ago. After two hours and 45 minutes, the Spaniard trailed 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 against world no. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the title clash, with slim chances of making a comeback and erasing a massive deficit.
Nadal's coach Carlos Moya said Nadal faced virtual match points in the third set's sixth game, as it would have been hard for him to come from two sets to love and a break down. In those moments, the Russian was marching towards the finish line, looking good to win back-to-back Major titles after the last year's US Open.
Facing the fifth consecutive Australian Open final loss, Nadal survived those three break points and started one of his most incredible comebacks in his glorious career. Nadal claimed the third set after breaking the opponent with a backhand down the line winner in game nine and forged an early advantage in the fourth to get back into the match completely.
Rafa held at love in game ten to wrap up the set and force a decider after four hours and 12 minutes, gaining a boost and hoping for another strong performance in the fifth set. Pushing strong, the Spaniard placed a forehand down the line winner in the fifth game to open a 3-2 gap and take a significant step towards the finish line.
Nadal survived a massive scare in the sixth game after fending off three break points, opening a 4-2 gap despite losing a lot of energy. Rafa secured the eighth game to forge a 5-3 advantage and served for the crown in game ten.
Rafael Nadal produced a massive comeback in the Australian Open final.
Medvedev made one last push and broke back for 5-5, extending his chances and still fighting like a lion despite wasting a colossal advantage. Staying composed and using his vast experience, Rafa seized the third break point in the 11th game and sealed the deal on his serve a few minutes later for a massive celebration of the record-breaking 21st Major crown.
"Daniil led 3-2, 40-0 in the third, and it almost felt like match points, although you never know with Rafa on the court. Still, it would have been virtually impossible to erase that deficit had Daniil converted any of those break points.
Rafa stayed focused, went point by point and managed to take the game and eventually the set. That marked the beginning of his comeback. Rafa was a better player in the second set as well, but he failed to show that on the scoreboard, which only matters.
Still, he knew he could match Daniil's level, and he did that in the rest of the clash," Carlos Moya said.