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30 Jan, 2022 14:48

Disbelief as Nadal roars back to beat Medvedev in all-time classic

Social media is full of praise for Rafael Nadal after his epic come-from-behind win against Daniil Medvedev in Melbourne
Disbelief as Nadal roars back to beat Medvedev in all-time classic

Spain's Rafael Nadal became the most successful player in the history of men's tennis on Sunday when he came back from a two-set deficit to defeat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open men's singles final in a match which will stack up capably with the most exciting showdowns ever seen in the Rod Laver Arena. 

Veteran Nadal claimed a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam with the 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win which came after the 35-year-old appeared to be on the verge of defeat after being outplayed by his Russian rival - particularly in the opening set in which Medvedev routed his opponent.

Signs of a comeback first began to show in the third, however, during which Medvedev lost momentum and, later, his head when he complained to the chair umpire about noise distractions from the raucous Melbourne crowd. 

Another Nadal win in the fourth set led to a nail-biting conclusion in the decider during which the Spaniard - a four time losing finalist - held firm to outlast the battle-worn Medvedev after a mammoth 5 hours and 25 minutes encounter.

"Rafael Nadal is 35. He missed Wimbledon, the US Open and thought he might have to retire because of a chronic foot problem. He was two sets to love down against the reigning US Open champion. Seriously, how the hell is he doing this?" wrote tennis commentator David Law of the match.

"How the hell has he done that? I am in absolute disbelief at what I've just watched," marveled an incredulous Guy Heveldt at Nadal's heroics.

Russian-born Aussie player Arina Rodionova added: "Can they just share the [trophy] please?"

"Crazy, crazy win for Rafael Nadal to end a crazy, crazy tournament (and buildup to it…!). Tough one for Daniil Medvedev to take and one he really should have finished off [when he was leading] but never write Rafa off!" were the thoughts of tennis podcaster George Bellshaw.

Sports writer Gavin Cooney wrote: "Can't think of many single sports events that yielded as many stories as thus year's Australian Open - Netflix picked a good starting point for the doc series."

Another commenter also pointed out that Nadal's win makes it an impressive 17 years between his first Grand Slam win in 2005 and today's triumph Down Under.

"What. A. Legend. Super congrats to my fellow @SunreefYachts ambassador! Watched every minute of it! My daughters thought I was crazy shouting at the TV! Well done also to Medvedev," said F1 ace Nico Rosberg of Nadal's win.

Sasa Ozmo noted that Medvedev's run-ins with the crowd may have added to the pressure against him: "Medvedev falling apart also emphasizes how difficult it is to play biggest matches both against a great opponent and the crowd. Djokovic had to do it for the most part of his career and it puts extra weight on his achievements."

"Nadal played 14 sets in his last three matches against Shapovalov, Berrettini & Medvedev. 3 men in their 20s, and among the best young talent in the world. he overcame them all, it took him nearly 13 hours on court, but he did it. UNREAL!" noted Gaurav Kalra.