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Tennis Hall of Fame: Rafael Nadal's 2022 Australian Open final win adjudged Best Comeback

Rafael Nadal scripted an amazing win in the 2022 Australian Open final.
Rafael Nadal scripted an amazing win in the 2022 Australian Open final.
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Rafael Nadal's pulsating win over Daniil Medvedev from two sets down in the 2022 Australian Open final has been adjudged by the Tennis Hall of Fame as the 'Best Comeback Within a Match'.

Nadal's win from the cusp of defeat made him the first male player in history to lift 21 Grand Slam singles titles as Medvedev wondered what might have been. The Spaniard beat off competition from 41-year-old Pancho Gonzalez, who saved seven match points to defeat 25-year-old Charlie Passarell at Wimbledon in 1969.

Among the other contenders were Mary Joe Fernandes, who recovered from 1-5 and four match points down against Gabriela Sabatini in the 1993 Roland Garros quarterfinals; Chanda Rubin, who recovered from 5-0, 40-0 down and saved nine match points against Jana Novotna in the third round at 1995 Roland Garros.

Jennifer Capriati, who recovered from a set and 4-0 down, saving four match points to down Martina Hingis in the 2002 Australian Open final was also nominated as was Pete Sampras, who recovered from two sets down to beat Jim Courier in the 1995 Australian Open quarterfinals.

Manuel Orantes, who saved four match points in the 1975 US Open semifinal against Gullermo Vilas and Jimmy Connors, who beat Mikael Pernfors from two sets down in the 1987 Wimbledon fourth round, rounded out the other nominees.

Engineering the greatest match comeback in a storied career, on the brightest of stages πŸ†@RafaelNadal's five-set win over Daniil Medvedev in the 2022 @AustralianOpen final is the winner of the Best #Comeback Within a Match πŸ’ͺ#ITHFMomentsVote https://t.co/8KVb6JeVVW

How did Rafael Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in 2022 Australian Open final?

2022 Men's Australian Open Winner Media Opportunity
2022 Men's Australian Open Winner Media Opportunity

Rafael Nadal was on the cusp of history when he took on Daniil Medvedev in the 2022 Australian Open final. He was looking to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (20) atop the all-time Grand Slam title leaderboard.

The Spaniard started slowly, dropping the first two sets as Medvedev dominated proceedings with his big hitting from the baseline. The Russian seemed to be on the brink of a straight-set victory when he found himself 3-2, 40-0 up on the Nadal serve in the third.

However, the 35-year-old Spaniard produced a comeback for the ages, roaring back into the contest by winning the third set. He saved break points at the start of the fourth, eventually winning it 6-4 to force a decider.

Rafael Nadal beats Daniil Medvedev to win the Australian Open title and a 21st Grand Slam title of his career making him the most decorated man in history πŸ™Œhttps://t.co/cyJhRsnEax

Rafael Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead in the fifth, but there was more drama in store as the Spaniard dropped serve at 5-4 while he was just two points away from the title. However, there was no denying the Spaniard as he broke his opponent again before serving out the match.

Medvedev hailed Nadal for his incredible fighting spirit after the match.

β€œAfter the match I asked him, β€˜Are you tired?’ because it was insane. You raised your level after the first two sets for your 21st Grand Slam title. You are an amazing champion, it was unbelievable.”

Nadal is 21-1 on the year, picking up titles in Melbourne, the Australian Open and Acapulco. He opened his campaign at the Madrid Masters with a straight-set win over Miomir Kecmanovic.


Edited by Keshav Gopalan
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