‘Daniil Medvedev choked against Rafael Nadal,’ legend recalls

Tennis – Nadal made one of his greatest comebacks in the Australian Open final.

Competing in his fourth Major final, Daniil Medvedev had everything in his hands against Rafael Nadal in this year’s Australian Open title clash. The Russian led 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before wasting those three break chances in the third set’s sixth game.

Rafa returned to the match to celebrate a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph in five hours and 24 minutes and lift the 21st Major crown! John McEnroe did not expect that outcome, saying that Medvedev missed a massive opportunity and choked in that crucial sixth game of set number three.

Nadal did not play well in the opener, struggling and failing to serve out for the second set. Medvedev grabbed it in the tie break and found himself miles ahead of set number three. The Spaniard faced those three break points in the third set’s sixth game, and it would have been over for him had he lost any of those points.

In a manner of a true champion, Nadal survived that game and claimed a break in game nine to grab the set and improve his chances. Things became serious when Rafa broke twice in the fourth set and forced a decider, recovering and fighting like a lion.

The Spaniard opened a 5-3 lead in the final set before the Russian made one last push and broke back for 5-5. Nadal started all over, broke again in game 11 and sealed the deal on his serve to celebrate the first Australian Open crown in 13 years.

John McEnroe shared his thoughts about an epic Australian Open final.

“The match’s turning point was when Rafa served at 2-3 in the third. It looked like Rafa felt deflated. I do not want to say he was resigned because he never is, but it looked like he expected that this was about to happen and that he would end up losing in straight sets.

I think Medvedev played a couple, I do not want to say careless, but maybe loose points. He got a little tentative because he could taste the finish line. And then, suddenly, he allowed the crowd back into the match because, obviously, the crowd was a significant factor.

Then Daniil started to show his edginess and frustration with the crowd, which made it worse for him. That was the turning point. As soon as that slight momentum shift occurred, Daniil started tight. He choked in the third set at that point, as he should have been 4-2 in front.

But once he let Rafa back in, that allowed the crowd to get back in, which was one of the most extraordinary efforts I have ever seen,” John McEnroe said.

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