Roger Federer beats arch-rival Rafael Nadal in five epic sets in the Australian Open final to claim his 18th major title. The 35-year-old, coming off a six-month injury lay-off, has fought past his great rival and bogeyman Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open in a five-set epic – 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. That match was everything we hoped it would be (and honestly a little bit more) as it kept see-sawing from the first point to the last. Federer looked cooked early in that set, but he kept fighting to stay in it and that break back in the sixth game of the decider came on the back of superb tennis that certainly belied the fatigue he would have been feeling. Nadal looked great and the error count was rising on Federer's side of the net. But Federer survived to pull off a sensational victory.
Just to recap, Federer won his fifth Australian Open SEVEN YEARS after his last one, also winning his 18th major FIVE YEARS after his last one. He's also the second-oldest major winner ever. Not only that, he did at 35 after a lengthy lay-off with a knee injury against a man whose game is tailor-made to beat him. Speaking of Rafael Nadal, his comeback from countless injuries has been a more long-term process and shouldn't be ignored either. Unfortunately for him, he came up against a champion of champions tonight who simply refused to give an inch. Thank you so much for joining me tonight. That was a lot of fun and an impossibly close match. I thought he was done, but now I can't wait to see what else The Fed can do.
He earned himself his 18th grand slam title by playing with verve and precision, defeating four top-10 players here — Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka and Nadal — to win his first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2012. Down a break at 1-3 in the fifth set, Federer rallied to win the last five games of the match.
In fairness, both players produced a super Australian Open 2017 final. Kudos to Federer and Nadal for a match that was a fitting finale to the opening tennis grand slam for the year!
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Canadian will next face former champ Rafael Nadal.
Courtesy: The Associated Press Posted: Jan 22, 2017 9:25 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 23, 2017 5:22 AM ET
Canada's Milos Raonic hits a backhand to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut during their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday evening. (Dita Alangkara/The Associated Press)
Raonic, who's been ill with the flu for the past few days, struggled at the outset against the 13th-seeded Spaniard. He rallied from 5-1 down in the first-set tiebreaker to win the opening set, then was broken twice in the second set.Canada's Milos Raonic has advanced to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open for the third straight year after a 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday in Melbourne.
But Bautista Agut began to falter midway through the third set when the roof at Hisense Arena was closed due to a passing rain shower, and he later had to call for a trainer to work on his leg.
"I was very fortunate to get through today," Raonic said. "There were moments where it wasn't looking so good."
The Thornhill, Ont. product hit 33 aces and 75 winners but had nine double-faults and 55 unforced errors, and seemed to get on a roll after spiking his racket into the court in frustration in the ninth game of the third set.
"I'm happy that I was able to find a way to pull through," he said.
Asked during the brief post match on court interview how his body was feeling, Raonic's one word reply was "fantastic."
Raonic is seeded third for the first time at a Grand Slam, and the top two seeds, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, are already out of the tournament.
He next plays former champion Rafael Nadal of Spain, who defeated Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009.
Serena reaches quarters
Serena Williams scrapped her way into the quarters in the women's draw, working around a misfiring serve and a rash of unforced errors to beat Barbora Strycova as the heat intensified on Monday.
She had a little bit of luck in some big moments, but created it herself by staying in points against the No. 16-ranked Strycova, who made the No. 2-ranked Williams engage in more and longer rallies than anyone so far in the tournament.
Despite the four service breaks (three in the first set), and with the fluky net cord and the off-balance, scrunched-shoulder backhand that bounced flatly and clinched her the first set on her eighth set point, Williams found a way to win 7-5, 6-4.
That keeps Williams on track in her bid for an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam title. If she gets there, the 35-year-old American will regain the No. 1 ranking as well.
"I feel like it was really good for me to win on probably not my best day, which is always good, because sometimes you rely on one shot and if it goes off, and then, like, what happens now?" Williams said. "It was really good for me to almost lose that so I know my other game is going pretty good, too."
Serena Williams Stutters Into Australian Open Quarters1:07
Next up, she'll face No. 9 Johanna Konta, who beat Ekaterina Makarova for the second straight year in the fourth round.
The 2016 semifinalist was only broken once and broke Makarova four times.
"That's an incredible experience for me. She's one of the few players still playing I watched growing up," Konta said of Williams. "It's an incredible honour and I can't wait to share the court with her."
7 service breaks in 1st set
The match started with four straight service breaks, with only two points going with serve, until Williams held for a 3-2 lead. There were seven service breaks in the first set — with Williams getting the decisive one in the 12th game.
She broke Strycova's serve early in the second to establish a lead but was broken while serving for the match. She finished off in the next game with another break of her own, her sixth of the match.
"It's good to know I have a plan B or option 2, I wasn't serving my greatest today, also she was putting a lot of returns in there," said Williams, who had a first-serve percentage of 45, and made four double-faults. "It's always good to have something to improve on."
'I love pressure'
The second-seeded Williams advanced to quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the 11th time since 2001 — she's only ever lost three times here in that round.
Angelique Kerber, who beat Williams in the final here last year and then ended the 22-time Grand Slam winner's 186-week streak at No. 1 by winning the U.S. Open, was upset in the fourth round in a straight-sets loss to Coco Vandeweghe the previous night.
"I love pressure. I feel like I deal well with pressure," said Williams, who has won the Australian Open six times. "I love the game. Honestly I have nothing to lose. I've won enough. … Everything is a bonus for me right now. It's kind of a little relaxing."
She has never met Konta, who is 9-0 so far in 2017.
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The 26-year-old was too good for Rafael Nadal, who was seen struggling with a back problem in the latter part of the match. Right from the word go, Stan Wawrinka was dictating terms as he didn’t give Nadal an inch to free his arms.
Wawrinka broke Rafa’s serve early in the first set, in the fourth game. He had another break point in the sixth game of the same set but the Spaniard held his serve.
Nadal missed out on a big opportunity when he had three break points in the ninth game of the first set. Wawrinka was trailing 0-40, but he won four consecutive points and served an ace to win the first set in just 37 minutes.
Wawrinka continued to show his brilliance even in the second set where he immediately broke Nadal’s serve in his first service game, which was the first game of the set.
But the turning point of the match was probably when trailing at 1-2 in the second set, Nadal called for his physio and took a medical time out which left Wawrinka annoyed to an extent. When Rafa resumed play, he wasn’t at his best and their was a huge drop in the speed of his serves which was an added advantage for the Swiss who went for the kill.
At one stage, it looked as if Nadal won’t be able to complete the match, but the Spaniard not only hung there, but also won the third set. Rafa required medical attention on his back on a few other occasions as well, where the physio was seen helping him on the court.
By the end of the third set, Rafa was slowly getting back in his groove and he gave a tough fight to the Swiss in the nine games of the fourth set, before bowing out in four sets.
Despite not having won a single match against Nadal in their 12 outings, a lot was expected from Wawrinka since the Swiss knocked out the defending champion and Nadal’s old nemesis Novak Djokovic in their quarter-final match. And Stan lived up to all those expectations and didn’t let the pressure of playing in his first Grand Slam final affect his game.
Wawrinka has now become the first player to defeat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam. The victory has also done wonders to his ATP ranking and he is the new No. 3.
The defeat shattered Nadal’s hope of becoming the first player in modern era to have won all the Grand Slams twice. The victory would have also tied him with Pete Sampas’s record of 14 Major titles.
First Published: Sunday, January 26, 2014, 19:48
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19 year-old Canadian Tennis prodigy Eugenie Bouchard has created an aura of excitement for most Canadian Tennis fans by reaching the semi-final of the Australian Open. Due to the 14-hour time difference between Toronto and Melbourne the game will be broadcast in Toronto on Rogers TV Channel TSN 30 at 9:30 pm today (Wednesday). A right royal battle is expected as Li Na is an experienced opponent who has had a steady climb up the earlier rounds to reach the semis. Bouchard beat Ana Ivanovic 2-1 to reach the semis.
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