Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 Sunday in a thrilling men’s singles final at the Australian Open.
The five-set match was nothing new for Federer or Nadal, as both players won five-set matches entering the final. It was the first time Federer and Nadal entered the final of a Grand Slam coming off multiple five-set matches, and the first time both finalists had multiple five-set matches in a Grand Slam since the 1997 Australian Open (Pete Sampras and Carlos Moya).
Federer’s road to his fifth Australian Open title was not an easy one. He is the first man since Mats Wilander at the French Open in 1982 to defeat four top-10 seeds in one Slam.
More history for Federer
Federer won his 18th career Grand Slam title. That extended his lead over Nadal for most in men’s tennis history.
As a 17-seed, Federer became the second-lowest seeded man to win the Australian Open in the Open Era. He is the first 17-seed to win a Grand Slam title since Sampras won the 2002 US Open in his final major appearance.
With at least five titles at Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open, Federer is the first man in tennis history to win five crowns at three different Grand Slams.
The only men in tennis history who have won more Australian Open titles than Federer are Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson (six each).
Age is just a number
At 35 years old, Federer is the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title since Ken Rosewall in 1972. Rosewall won the Australian Open at 37 that year.
Federer has won multiple Grand Slams after turning 30. The only others to do that in men's tennis history are Rod Laver, Rosewall, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and Stan Wawrinka.
Inside the rivalry
Sunday’s match was the ninth meeting between Federer and Nadal in a Grand Slam other than Wimbledon. Federer was 0-8 at all other Grand Slams against Nadal entering this match.
The win solidifies Federer’s place atop the hardcourt ranks. Federer now has 61 hardcourt titles, including 10 at Grand Slams. Both of those numbers rank first among men in the Open era. Only Djokovic (.841) has a better winning percentage on hard courts than Federer’s .829.
Nadal was up early in the fifth set and led 2-0 and 3-1, but Federer won the final five games of the match. Federer won 49 only percent of his second-serve points. He had never beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam after winning less than 55 percent of points on his second serve (0-7 entering the match).