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Australian Open: 5 most memorable men's singles matches since 2000

 Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open
Neelabhra Roy
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The 110th edition of the Australian Open will commence in Melbourne next week. This year's tournament promises to be an enthralling one, with plenty of important storylines set to unfold.

In 2021, the men's singles competition threw up some fantastic matches. 27th seed Taylor Fritz pushed World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to five sets in the third round, while qualifier Aslan Karatsev came from two sets down to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round.

Dominic Thiem conquered an inspired Nick Kyrgios in five sets, while Stefanos Tsitsipas clawed his way back from the brink to beat Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

Over the years, the Australian Open has played host to some of the most memorable matches of all time. There have been thrillers involving heavyweights like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, while other lesser-known players have also contributed to the excitement surrounding the Melbourne Slam.

On that note, here's a look at the five best men's singles matches at the Australian Open since 2000.

#5 Andre Agassi def. Pete Sampras 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-1, Australian Open 2000 SF

Agassi won a five-set thriller against Pete Sampras
Agassi won a five-set thriller against Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi was one of the fiercest rivalries in tennis during the 1990s but the two also had some great encounters after the turn of the century.

Their first meeting of the 21st century came in the semifinals of the 2000 Australian Open. Top seed Agassi took the opening set 6-4 before Sampras fought back to win the second 6-3.

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The third seed then won the third set 7-6, not dropping a single point in the tie-break. The fourth set went to a tie-break as well and Agassi managed to edge out Sampras to force a decider.

The top seed found his groove and breezed through the final set, winning it 6-1 to advance to the final. Agassi went on to win the Australian Open by defeating Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the title clash.

#4 Marat Safin def. Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(6), 9-7, Australian Open 2005 SF

Safin avenged his 2004 Australian Open final defeat to Federer
Safin avenged his 2004 Australian Open final defeat to Federer

Roger Federer beat Marat Safin in the 2004 final to win his first Australian Open crown. The two players faced each other once again in the semifinals of the tournament the following year.

Federer carried a 26-match winning run that had started at the 2004 US Open into his clash against Safin. Moreover, he had not dropped a set in the 2005 Australian Open en route to the semifinals.

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The Swiss took the opening set 7-5 before Safin won the second 6-4. Federer restored his lead by taking the third set 7-5 and had a match point in the fourth. However, Safin saved it and took the set 7-6 to force a decider.

Federer was plagued by back problems in the final set, but still put up a tough fight. Safin eventually took the set 9-7 to register his only victory over the Swiss in a Grand Slam match. He went on to win the Australian Open by beating Lleyton Hewitt in the final.

#3 Roger Federer def. Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, Australian Open 2017 Final

Federer beat Nadal in five sets to win his fifth Australian Open title
Federer beat Nadal in five sets to win his fifth Australian Open title

Rafael Nadal was seeded ninth in the 2017 Australian Open, while Federer was 17th. However, the duo made a mockery of their seedings as they marched into the final.

The Swiss took the opening set of the title clash 6-4, but Nadal fought back to take a 4-0 lead in the second. The Spaniard won the second set 6-3 to level proceedings. Federer regained his lead after cruising through the third set 6-1, but Nadal fought back once again to claim the fourth set 6-4.

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The Spaniard took charge of the match when he broke Federer's serve early in the fifth. But the Swiss produced a remarkable fightback and claimed five games on the trot to win the set 6-3 and seal his fifth Australian Open crown.

#2 Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2, Australian Open 2009 Final

Federer and Nadal played a thrilling final in 2009
Federer and Nadal played a thrilling final in 2009

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal met in the Australian Open final for the first time in 2009 and the duo put on quite a show.

The match started with both players exchanging breaks in the opening two games. Federer then broke Nadal to take a 4-2 lead. However, the Spaniard broke twice towards the end of the set to take it 7-5.

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Federer leveled proceedings by winning the second set 6-3. The third set was tightly contested and went to a tie-break, where Nadal pulled away to restore his lead in the final. But Federer refused to throw in the towel and won the fourth set 6-4 to take the final into a decider.

The Swiss began to fatigue in the fifth set and Nadal made the most out of his opportunity. The Spaniard broke twice to take the set 6-2 and lift his first Australian Open title.

Federer broke down in tears during the presentation ceremony and Nadal was quick to console him, a moment that lives on in the memory of ardent tennis fans.

#1 Novak Djokovic def. Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5, Australian Open 2012 Final

Djokovic won his third Australian Open crown in one of the greatest tennis matches of all time
Djokovic won his third Australian Open crown in one of the greatest tennis matches of all time

The 2012 Australian Open final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal is regarded as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time.

The Spaniard took the opening set 7-5 before Djokovic leveled the match by winning the second 6-4. The Serb, looking to defend his title in Melbourne, dominated the the third set and clinched it 6-2.

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Djokovic had a number of opportunities in the fourth set but failed to capitalize, leaving the door open for Nadal. The Serb even led 5-3 in the tie-break but Nadal rallied took the next four points to level the match.

When Nadal broke to go 4-2 up, it appeared as though the Serb's title defense was coming to a crushing end. However, Djokovic refused to back down and broke back immediately. The Serb secured another crucial break at 5-5 before serving out the match. At the end of the grueling contest, the clock read five hours and 53 minutes, the longest match in Australian Open history and the longest Major singles final.


Edited by Arvind Sriram
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