It took nearly four hours, but Roger Federer is a champion once more.
The 35-year-old tennis star met his rival Rafael Nadal in Monday’s Australian Open final, and it was a nail-biter to the very end. And despite the fact Nadal entered the match with a 23-11 lead over Federer in 13 years of head-to-head matchups, the Switzerland native was able to hold off Nadal in a five-set thriller, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
Nadal played Federer to a 3-1 lead to begin the fifth set, but Federer, who was playing through a right quad injury that required on-court treatment, came roaring back to beat the 30-year-old Spaniard for his 18th Grand Slam title. Federer saved two break points before Nadal sent a forehand into the post to give Federer the win.
The victory is Federer’s fifth Australian Open title and his first Grand Slam triumph since he beat Andy Murray in the 2012 Wimbledon final. Federer is the only man to win five titles in three different Grand Slam tournaments.
Thumbnail photo via Susan Mullane/USA TODAY Sports Images