Serbian tennis star, Novak Djokovic (1) has lifted his third Australian Open, after he came through a record breaking longest-ever Grand Slam final in the 2012 Men’s Singles tournament against Spaniard Rafael Nadal (2), on Sunday 29th January 2012.
Djokovic came from behind more than once to lift a marathon final 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5, having, at one point, been a break and 2-4 down in the fifth and final set. The match lasted a grueling 5 hours and 53 minutes into the arly hours of Monday morning at Melbourne’s packed Rod Laver Arena.
The victory meant that 24 year old Djokovic drew level with Andre Agassi, Mats Wilander and Roger Federer as the only players to win three Australian Open titles.
But Rafael Nadal, the current World Number Two, and second seed for this tournament, came within inches of winning his second Australian Open. The Spanish ace went within two game of victory by breaking early in the fifth set, to go up 4-2. He had a relatively easy put away on his serve which might have seen him get to within a game, however, he missed a pass when Djokovic was out of sight, by mere inches. The Serbian fought back to break back Nadal, before holding serve and breaking again. Soon there were Championship points which Djokovic, while clearly exhausted, was able to take with his racquet arm seeming, at times, to be the last working part of his body.
Nadal had taken the first set before Djokovic upped his game to something approaching perfection in the next two to turnaround the match. Without seeming to dip, he then found Nadal his usual, resilient, self, as the Spaniard forced the fourth set to a tiebreak, despite, in one gripping game, going three break points down at 0-40, before roaring back with some truly magnificent hitting to take the set to a breaker, which he then, with the momentum that save had provided, just collected 7-5 to force the fifth and final set.
This see-sawing match then teetered in Nadal’s favour before Djokovic grabbed the opportunity that Nadal’s miss provided, such as it was, and gathered the vital points remaining for a memorable victory in what was the longest ever Grand Slam Final.
Djokovic is a worthy Champ, but this final really was as you might come to calling it even in tennis.
At 24 and 25 years old respectively, the winner and runner-up have plenty of years to keep trading the blows at this, the highest of levels, providing they stay injury free. Long may it continue.