MELBOURNE: Roger Federer won his fifth Australian Open after beating Rafa Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 and clinch a first Grand Slam title in four and a half years on Sunday.
The 35-year-old capped his triumphant return from knee surgery with a record-extending 18th major title after a vintage battle with his Spanish rival, who had won all three of their previous meetings at Melbourne Park. Nadal, also returning from injury this year.
After Nadal unsuccessfully challenged the line call on the second championship point Federer was forced to endure a nervous wait for his victory. Finally he was able to celebrate his victory by tears in his eyes after coming out on top after three hours and 38 minutes of enthralling tennis to become the first man to win five or more titles at three different Grand Slams.
Fedrer said “There are no draws in tennis but I would have been happy to share one with Rafa tonight,”
Nadal, the 2009 champion, was typically gracious after losing his third Melbourne final and coming up short in his bid for a 15th Grand Slam title.
“Congrats to Roger, just amazing the way he’s playing after so long away from the tour,” the 30-year-old said.
“It’s been a great month for me; I worked a lot to get where I am today. It was a great match and I think Roger probably deserved it a little more than me. I will keep on fighting.”