Nadal makes history at Australian Open (Lead)February 1st, 2009 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS
Melbourne, Feb 1 (DPA) Rafael Nadal denied the dream of Roger Federer to materialise with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-2 title win at the Australian Open which kept the Swiss from a record 14th Grand Slam singles trophy Sunday.It was Nadal’s second consecutive five-set match at the Australian Open after beating Fernando Verdasco in five sets in Friday’s semi-final. His win on nearly four and a half hours brought his on-court time to nine and a half hours over the past three days.
Nadal’s victory was his sixth and gave the 22-year-old current possession of the Paris, Wimbledon and now Melbourne honours.
The pair were playing for the seventh time in a Grand Slam final with Nadal having claimed the last three meetings dating to Roland Garros last year.
Nadal is the first Spaniard to ever win the trophy in Melbourne and stands 13-6 over Federer.
The loss dropped Federer to 13-5 in Grand Slam finals with Nadal accounting for all of his defeats.
Federer missed a chance to win the third set as he went wrong on six break points over two games but made a fighting comeback in the fourth set to tie it all up and force a deciding fifth.
But an errant backhand into the net to hand over a break in the fourth game for 3-1, almost broke the Federer spirit.
The Swiss rallied to save two match points in the eight game before an “out” call from the crowd handed over a third.
Nadal seized the victory as a Federer return sailed long and the Swiss slumped in defeat.
Federer struggled early in a first set which played like a woman’s match, complete with five breaks of serve.
The Swiss got one back from Nadal early on, but was disappointingly unable to hold onto his own at 4-2, losing it and dropping the final game.
Nadal took the opener after 58 minutes - one less than the entirety of the women’s final 24 hours earlier. Federer revived in the second set, taking a 3-2 lead on a break but again losing it a game later.
But this time, it was the second seed who seized the momentum, breaking Nadal for 5-3 after the fighting Spaniard saved four break points in the game.
Federer, his game steadying, served out to level at a set each after almost two hours.
In the third set, the toll of a semi-final running for more than five hours looked to perhaps be taking a slight toll on Nadal, with the Spaniard calling for the trainer after the fifth game for a rub on his hamstring.
Federer missed a golden opportunity to grab a break, missing on three break points in the ninth game as the Spaniard held with difficulty, 5-4.
It was the same frustrating scenario two games later, with Nadal again escaping three break points for 6-5.
After failing to put it away, Federer had to salvage a set point in the 12th game with a serve winner to forces a tiebreaker.
But Nadal shook off any fatigue, firing a cross-court winner for a break point for three more set points and taking a two-sets-to-one lead after three hours on a costly Federer double-fault, his third of the long evening.
The drama stepped up in the third as Nadal got back a break in the third game and then recovering from 0-30 to earn 2-2.
Federer came under continual pressure in an epic game, saving three more break chances a game later, a fourth with ace number 11 and fifth to the corner before finally making it 3-2 after seven deuces.
It went into a fifth thanks to a Federer break for 4-2 and a service winner three games later.
Tags: australian open, backhand, break points, court time, dpa, fernando verdasco, final game, grand slam finals, half hours, match points, melbourne, possession, rafael nadal, roger federer, roland garros, seventh time, spaniard, trophy, two games, wimbledon