Australian Open 2022: Rafael Nadal fetches his 21st grand slam title

Rafael Nadal smashed through all boundaries to become the first man to win 21 grand slams, bringing the joy of tennis fans to new heights.

Pritha Ghosh
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The happiness of avid tennis fanatics seemed to have no boundaries as Rafael Nadal broke through all the barriers and became the first man ever to acquire 21 grand slam titles. He defeated Russia's Daniil Medvedev by 2-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 7-5.

Rafael Nadal | Australian Open 2022 |

Source: Twitter

The suspense seemed to build across the world as neither Rafa nor Medvedev seemed to be allowing one another any field to conquer. Despite the fact that Medvedev outscored Nadal in the opening two sets, it was Nadal's unwavering patience and expertise that allowed him to triumph. In a thrilling five-set battle, the Spaniard upset the Russian 2-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 7-5 to win his second Australian Open title. As a result, he broke all benchmarks and became the first man to acquire 21 Grand Slam titles.

Medvedev dominated the first set

At the beginning of the first set, Rafael Nadal seemed vicious with his sharp serves. After much toil, Medvedev's poor return on Rafa's second serve finally awarded the Spaniard the first game. The Russian's serves seemed quite breezy in the second game, though eventually, he was able to win it. With a clean service to the body, Nadal constricted Medvedev, forcing him to toss the ball wide. Medvedev stepped up with a couple of angled returns into Nadal's backhand, pulling the false shot back towards the net and acquiring the lead. Hence, his ferocious reply destroyed Nadal's cross-court shot once more.

During his first service of the match, it was evident that the Spaniard seemed to have the backing of the massive proportion of the Rod Laver Arena crowd. However, Medvedev came back with a bang, winning five consecutive games to take the first set, leaving his rival drenched in heat and therefore unable to position himself on serve.

The second set witnessed it all

From the smooth slice shots, the rapidly changing gameplay to the longest rally in the entire match, the second set witnessed it all. The set began with the Mallorcan and the Russian placing the balls slowly and the former targeting the Latter's Backhand. Hence, Nadal ended up having the first and third games in his pocket. However, Medvedev quickly adapted to the situation. He changed his game dynamics which ended up being fruitful as he fetched the second game easily.

The fourth game started with both of them placing the ball at each other's backhands. The longest rally of the match occurred at this game and ended with the Spaniard depicting an unexpected backhand cross-court. The shot was mixed with topspin which snatched Rafa the game and set the score to 3-1. In the fifth game, Nadal continued to shower aces and depicted a plethora of slice shots. As a finishing touch, he took the game with a powerful cross-court.

Nonetheless, the ninth game is where Medvedev changed his gameplay and gave Nadal a difficult time. His gameplay seemed to be inspired by the old Serve and volley method and a poised mixture of cross-court volleys and aggressiveness made it easier for him to win and it ultimately led to a dramatic Tie-break. In the intriguing breaker, Nadal had his chances to tie it up. However, it was Medvedev who took control with a succession of snarling strokes to take it 7-5 and double his lead.

Read also: Australian Open 2022: Ashleigh Barty brings back the glory

Rafael Nadal staged a great comeback

The sixth seed was all set to respond in the third set. Despite the loss, he started the set brightly and had a great chance to offer himself two prominent breakpoints. Though, a sloppy attempt shot enabled Medvedev to unleash a spectacular backhand smash that flew past his rival at the net.

With Nadal, down 0-40 and serving at 2-3, the match appeared to be slipping away from his hands.

However, he earned his way back to deuce before reaching victory and tying the third set. With Medvedev serving at 4-4 in the final, Nadal shattered his adversary with a brilliant backhand shot down the line. As a consequence, the excited shouting and applauds in the Rod Laver arena seemed to have no boundaries.

Unlike in the second set, Nadal maintained his service with aplomb. He won four consecutive points to make it 2-1, and Medvedev looked agitated.

Rafael Nadal | Australian Open 2022 |

Source: Twitter

The Rafael Nadal magic continues

First, at beginning of the fourth set, the pendulum shifted even more in Nadal's favour, as the Mallorcan saved two break points to tie the match at 1-1. After an 0-40 deficit, Medvedev contrived to get his next service game to deuce. Nonetheless, Nadal was unflappable in his chase of another break of serve, which he finally won. Recovering his next service game to take a 4-2 advantage in the fourth, Nadal was producing some of the finest tennis of his life with his movements as balletic as ever.

Nadal's next game was perhaps the most important of the set, as he rallied from 15-40 down in order to make it 5-3. Medvedev held the next play, saving a set point, but it was only a matter of time before Nadal wrapped off the match with a flawless service game. This match was slowly becoming one of the greatest grand slam finals of the decade.

The Spaniard inscribes his name on the trophy

At the start of the fifth set, there appeared to be no halting Nadal now, as he shattered his adversary's serve once more to take a 3-2 lead. Nadal was serving for the title at 5-4 and had a 30-0 lead, apparently on the verge of making history. Medvedev, however, dug even further to win four straight points and reclaim the lead in the most crucial of circumstances. Eventually, the avid tennis fanatics could not help but scream in joy in the Rod Laver arena as, in the midst of agonising strain, the Spaniard managed to squeeze out his tired opponent and score a remarkable triumph for the second time of serving for the match.

Rafael Nadal | Australian Open 2022 |

Source: Twitter

The champion's reacion

An excited yet exhausted Rafael Nadal expressed,

"It has been one of the most emotional matches in my tennis career and to share the court with you was an honour. I don't even know what to say, guys, for me it's just amazing. I can't thank enough all the guys that are there , all the team, family … just how hard the last year and half has been. In the low moments, you have been there to support me and without you guys, none of this would be possible. Being honest, one and a half months ago I didn't know if I would be back on the tour playing tennis again. Today, I am here in front of you with the trophy again. You don't know how much I fought to be here. Thank you so much for the love and support."

"Without a doubt one of the most emotional matches in my tennis career and having the huge support I received during the three weeks is going to stay in my heart for the rest of my life, so many, many thanks. One month and a half ago I would have said it would be my last Australian Open. But now I have a lot of energy to carry on. I can't explain the feelings I have now. I'm going to try my best to come back next year," The 21 grand slam titles champion added further.

Read also: Australian Open 2022: Daniil Medvedev draws inspiration from Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal | Australian Open 2022 | Roger Federer |

It's just Nadal's second triumph at Melbourne Park, having won the tournament in 2009.

With this spectacular victory, Nadal surpassed Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who each have 20 Grand Slam wins. Thus, he took exclusive possession of the record for most men's singles Grand Slam championships.

Tennis Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2022 Tennis Records