Roger Federer beat Rafa Nadal in five sets to win the Australian Open
It was an epic encounter, made all the more remarkable for the fact both players have spent months out injured and played a five-setter in the semi-final.
Federer broke in the seventh game of the match, finding strength in his backhand as Nadal tried to target the perceived weakness.
He followed it with a love service game that hardly last 90 seconds as he shifted into a gear Nadal did not appear to have.
Federer claimed the fifth set 6-3 to end an epic battle
In their last 10 meetings, only twice had the winner lost the first set but after a comfort break, Nadal was renewed.
After Federer had a run of 11 straight points on his serve, the Spaniard broke him in the second game of the second set, relying on his more traditional tactics of depth and spin.
He saved two of his own break points in the next game and it proved crucial as he secured the double break to lead 4-0 minutes later.
Nadal battled back to 2-2 in sets but couldn't secure the victory
Nadal came into the match with a convincing 23-11 head-to-head lead over Federer but the match itself was agonisingly close.
The third set started with Federer saving three more break points before breaking Nadal to 30.
He would grab an insurance break in the sixth game and served out – albeit after saving two break points – to take a 2-1 lead.
Roger Federer wins 18th Grand Slam title beating Rafa Nadal in Australian Open
Sun, January 29, 2017
Roger Federer has won his 18th Grand Slam title after beating Rafa Nadal in the Australian Open
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Roger Federer has won his 18th Grand Slam title
With Federer playing on a level rarely since his heydays at the top of the world rankings, Nadal was desperate to break his rhythm.
The left-hander started hitting harder and flatter balls again and it proved effective, especially when Federer's first serve began to slip.
Nadal capitalised in the fourth game of the fourth set, converting the second of the three break points he forced.
He served it out to love, just as he did in the second.
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Both left the court ahead of the fifth set, but Federer took a medical timeout. Nadal returned well before him and was forced to wait for his opponent but it didn't seem to faze him.
He broke in the very first game and saved three break points in the very next game as they traded winner after winner.
But Federer got back on serve at 3-3, held to love and converted his 11th break point of the fifth set to give him the chance to serve for the title.
The first championship point came and went but the second was converted to seal the title.