Australian Open: Key moments in Nadal's remarkable comeback win

By Sports Desk January 30, 2022

Rafael Nadal was on the brink of another Australian Open final defeat before a remarkable turnaround against Daniil Medvedev.

Trailing by two sets to love, Nadal found himself staring at three break points midway through the third set on Rod Laver Arena.

But he recovered and stepped up his game, clinching a record-breaking 21st grand slam title with a 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 victory over Medvedev in an enthralling encounter that lasted five hours and 24 minutes.

Medvedev had his chances, but the US Open champion suffered his third defeat in four major finals.

Stats Perform looks at some of the key moments.

Nadal serving at 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 2-3

Medvedev looked on his way to a deserved and resounding win when Nadal – who had lost four Australian Open finals previously – found himself in a 0-40 hole.

But a drop shot winner from Nadal was followed by a long Medvedev backhand, with the Russian trying a drop shot that the Spaniard returned too well on his final break point chance. It would prove a decisive hold for Nadal.

"Yeah, that was a good moment when I had the triple break point," Medvedev said afterwards. "Actually, I don't remember all of them in detail, but I remember that all of three returns I made it in. I just got a little bit tight. But, again, that's tennis. I should have done better. I should have hit a winner. I maybe would have won the match.

"Tactically nothing changed. I feel like I was playing right. But Rafa stepped up. The only thing that physically was a little bit up and down, and yeah, he was I think stronger than me physically today. Starting from the third set, there were some shots and points where I was a little bit on the back foot, let's call it like this. And Rafa takes control of these moments.

"But again, yeah, I have to work harder."

Medvedev serving at 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 4-4

The vocal and enthusiastic crowd was beginning to impact Medvedev, and Nadal's level was improving.

A long forehand at 15-15 was followed by an inexplicable overhead drop shot attempt by Medvedev that hit the net, leading to sarcastic clapping of the crowd.

Nadal clinched the break with a wonderful backhand winner down the line.

Medvedev serving at 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 2-2

Medvedev had already recovered from being a break down in the fourth set when Nadal struck again after a lengthy fifth game.

An excellent return saw Medvedev net a backhand and Nadal converted his seventh break point of the game with a backhand cross-court passing shot winner.

Medvedev serving at 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 4-6 5-5

Medvedev had stopped Nadal's momentum in the previous game when the Spaniard was attempting to serve out the match.

But Nadal broke again when Medvedev pulled a backhand wide before sending a forehand long.

Nadal serving at 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 6-5

Nadal was never going to let a second chance go begging.

Medvedev put a running forehand into the net and a backhand return long before an ace from Nadal set up three championship points.

He only needed one, making a backhand volley to become the first player in the Open Era to win an Australian Open final from two sets to love down.

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