Nadal AO22

Nadal creates history with 21st Grand Slam title, beating Medvedev at the Australian Open

Rafael Nadal has won a historic 21st Grand Slam title, and his second Australian Open title in a come-from-behind five-set thriller against Daniil Medvedev.

Rafael Nadal has won a historic 21st Grand Slam title with his second Australian Open championship, coming from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller.

Nadal, going into this final, shared an equal number of 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The brunt of his titles have been French Open titles (13), along with four US Open titles, two Wimbledon titles and one Australian Open.

However, now, with his second Australian Open trophy in six final appearances, Nadal stands alone at the top of men's tennis with this feat against Medvedev, meeting in the deciding match of a Grand Slam once again after the 2019 US Open final.

For Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion who was looking to become the first player to win the subsequent Slam after winning their maiden title, it was also a case of déjà vu as he rued another missed chance to win at Melbourne Park after falling to Novak Djokovic in straight sets at last year's tournament.

Nadal and Medvedev had met four times before this year's Australian Open final with the Spaniard holding the edge, three wins to one. However, the most recent meeting - a semi-final at the Nitto ATP Finals in Great Britain, the Russian proved victorious.

The road to the 2022 Australia Open final for Nadal began with three-set wins over Marcos Giron and Yannick Hanfmann in the first and second rounds, respectively. He played against his first seeded opponent in the third round, beating Karen Khachanov in four sets and won a tough battle with Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round in straight sets, although it included a 16-14 first-set tiebreak.

Entering the finals stage of the tournament, Nadal had a five-set match with Denis Shapovalov, coming back from two sets down in the quarter-final before beating Matteo Berrettini in four sets in the semi-final.

For Medvedev, he survived a third-set tiebreak in a straight-sets win over Henri Laaksonen in the first round before overcoming Nick Kyrgios in four sets in the second round. He beat Botic van de Zandschulp in the third round and Maxime Cressy in a see-sawing four-set match in the next round.

Medvedev also had a five-set match in the quarter-final, coming back from two sets down against Felix Auger-Aliassime as he confirmed his place in the final with a four-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final.


Rafael Nadal started the final with the first serve and won the first point with the forehand shot, but then errored on the next point. Nadal won the next two points before Medvedev got back into the game, bringing it to deuce before Nadal won the last two points off of his opponent's winners.

Medvedev's first service game was a prolific one, getting out to a 40-0 lead before he sent one wide, but evened the set at one game apiece with an ace.

Nadal's was able to hold in a tense second service game, despite his opponent pushing him to deuce twice, eventually finding a forehand winner to go 2-1 up in the set. But once again, Medvedev also held serve, sealing the game with an ace once more.

The fifth game of the first set was where Medvedev got a crucial break, winning four unanswered points off the Nadal serve with the Spaniard committing some unforced errors late.

Medvedev held his own service game, again finding form with an ace within a couple of Nadal errors and like Nadal's previous service game, Medvedev got the break again in the next game with another four unanswered points, including two double faults to begin to game.

Medvedev served for the first set and after Nadal won the first point with a forehand shot, the Russian came back with an ace, as the Spaniard again made unforced errors, a hit into the net sealing the fate of the set.

Nadal would begin with the first serve of the second set too, and despite some trouble after going 30-0 up and committing another double fault, he started the set in the right way and won the opening game.

Medvedev only gave up one point on his way to evening up the games won, again, a trademark ace helping get there faster with a smash earning the eventually game-winning point.

Nadal and Medvedev each held the next two of their respective service games before the latter got the first break of the set once again in the seventh game but Nadal got the break back immediately.

The Russian had break point being 15-40 up in the ninth game before the Spaniard claimed the next two to bring up deuce. That would be the first of four instances of deuce for that particular point as Medvedev continued to bring up break point, eventually getting there with a long forehand error by Nadal.

Nadal broke Medvedev's serve again as neither player could put a ledger between the other and Nadal had the upper hand when the point-for-point 11th game of the set went his way after two occasions where deuce popped up.

Though, Medvedev wasn't able to give up, winning his service game, another point-for-point game that ended with an ace, and send the set to a tiebreak.

Nadal got the first two points of the tiebreak after two Medvedev errors, but the Russian got the next two points. The two players each had volley winners to have the score a 3-3.

Nadal capitalised on Medvedev's errors once more but then, with the score at 5-3, Medvedev won the next four points, bringing up set point with a backhand winner and then, taking the second set with a forehand winner.

Medvedev started serving in the third set and it was a tough hold for him, Nadal pushing him in a game that went to deuce four times, with the server sealing the game with another ace.

The next game also went to deuce, finishing up the way of Nadal, and the following three games were easy going for each player, holding their own service games without giving up many points to their opponent.

In the sixth game, while Nadal was serving, Medvedev got out to a 0-40 lead but to Nadal's credit, he came back to deuce and had to work through to advantages being squashed by Medvedev on the way to winning the game.

Medvedev got through the next game with little resistance from Nadal, however, the veteran took the next three games - including a break - on his way to claiming a setback with a series of four unanswered winners, utilising the entire court's coverage.

To begin the fourth set, Medvedev held serve before a gruelling second game saw deuce three times with a Medvedev error handing Nadal the game. Nadal got a break when he went up 15-40, and despite an ace from the Russian, he then double-faulted, giving Nadal a small buffer though, it would come undone as Medvedev got a break back.

In the fifth game, Nadal found three consecutive winners to lead 0-40 on the Medvedev serve but Medvedev would earn the next three points to bring up deuce, and bring up advantage with a backhand close into the net by Nadal.

Medvedev missed a smash where the ball came off the top of his racquet's frame and Nadal took this moment to bring up break point again. There'd be another four instances of deuce as Nadal couldn't convert any break point opportunities until he found a forehand winner across court, and across Medvedev who was up near the net.

Both players won their next service games with ease and Nadal survived a 15-40 eighth game, getting to deuce, and through advantage with a forehand cross court winner, and ace.

Medvedev held serve in the ninth game, playing through deuce twice, before Nadal won the fourth set without giving up any points in the 10th game.

Medvedev survived two moments of deuce in the first serving game of the final set, winning with a backhand shot that got by Nadal. Nadal and Medvedev held serve through the next three service games, keeping the match a tight affair before Nadal got the break in the fifth game, getting through a deuce.

Game six saw Nadal serving and getting out to a 40-15 lead but, to Medvedev's credit, he clawed his way back, and while Nadal had two advantages, Medvedev also found his way towards break point on three occasions before Nadal powered on an fought back to win the game.

Medvedev won his service game, and Nadal his next also, with the latter needing one more game for the match, although the former was destined to not back down, looking to still keep fighting to the very end, winning the game and forcing Nadal to serve for the championship.

Medvedev didn't let a 30-0 Nadal lead in the 10th game stop him from still competing hard, getting ahead 30-40 and, after the Spaniard got called for a serving time warning, Nadal hit a backhand shot into the net which meant the match would go another two games at least.

Nadal got a second chance to serve for the 2022 Australian Open title when he broke Medvedev in the 11th game and that he did, winning all four points, bringing up championship point with an ace and a backhand winner earned him the historic feat.

During the post-game, Medvedev was complimentary in defeat of Nadal and his efforts to earn a 21st Grand Slam title.

"It's tough to talk after five hours 30 [minutes] and losing but I want to congratulate Rafa because what he did today, I was amazed," Medvedev said.

"During the match, I just tried to play tennis but after the match, I just asked him 'Are you tired?' because I think the level was very high, you (the crowd) raised your level after two sets.

"What a 21st Grand Slam and I thought you (Nadal) were going to get tired... but [you] still won the match and you're an amazing champion."

Among the celebratory post-game moments, the 2022 Australian Open champion Nadal acknowledged his opponent and alluded to the high degree of support he's received in Australia as a matter that spurs him on to perform at this tournament, and keep returning - now to defend his title.

"First of all, I know, it's a tough moment, Daniil, you're an amazing champion. I don't have any doubt that you'll have this trophy a couple of times in your career because you are amazing so I want to congratulate you. This has been one of the most emotional matches of my tennis career and to share the court with you is an honour so all the best in the future," Nadal said.

"For me, it's just amazing, being honest, one month and a half ago, I didn't know if I would be able to be back on the tour playing tennis again and today, I am in front of you, having this trophy with me and you really don't know how much I fought to be here, I can't thank enough all the support I received since I arrived here, you are just amazing.

"Without a doubt, [it has] been probably one of the most emotional moments in my tennis career, and having the huge support that I received during this three weeks is just going to stay in my heart for the rest of my life so many, many thanks.

"I really can't explain the feelings I have right now but I'm going to keep trying my best to keep coming next year, thank you, see you soon!"

Rafael Nadal [6]






Daniil Medvedev [2]