Rafael Nadal has beaten Roger Federer at the Australian open in a five-set nail-biter. The hottest two players in the world, who land in the UAE in a matter of weeks to play at the Dubai Tennis Championships, held each other off for over four hours before Nadal took the title in the fifth set for 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2.
Federer, who was trying to equal Pete Sampras' record 14 major titles, has now lost to Nadal the last three times they've met in Grand Slam finals.
The 27-year-old Swiss couldn't hold back tears at the presentation. "Maybe I'll try later. God, it's killing me," Federer said, sobbing. He returned to congratulate Nadal within minutes, saying: "You deserved it. You played a fantastic final." Nadal collected the trophy and put his arm around Federer.
"Roger, sorry for today. I really know how you feel right now," Nadal said. "Remember, you're a great champion, you're one of the best in history." He accepted the cup from Rod Laver, who was in Australia to mark the start of the 40th anniversary of the last Grand Slam season. "To receive this trophy from Rod Laver is a dream for me," Nadal said.
Federer, so dominant when he won three of the four majors in both 2006 and 2007, has now lost Grand Slam finals on three different surfaces to Nadal. Now it's the 22-year-old Nadal who seems more likely to be the first since Laver to complete a Grand Slam with wins in one year in all four majors.
Nadal, who has four consecutive titles on clay at Roland Garros and beat Federer on grass in a five-set epic at Wimbledon last year, became the first Spaniard to win the Australian title. He has now won five of the seven Grand Slam finals he's played against Federer and is 13-6 overall against the Swiss star.