What a Match! What a Player! What a Champion! Rafael Nadal Parera, take a bow!
In the just concluded final, Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer to take his first Australian Open crown in grand style. He won in five epic sets (well, four epic sets) – 7-5 3-6 7-6(3) 3-6 6-2. I say four because in the last set, Roger Federer looked like a pale shadow of the Champion that he is. In the third game of the set, he let slip a 30-0 advantage and made four unforced errors to hand Nadal a crucial break of serve and from thereon, it was all one-way traffic. Federer’s shoulders drooped, he was dejected and if any great comeback was expected, the hope of it was quickly dispatched by Nadal in the next two service games. He wrapped up the match on Federer’s service game, winning his first-ever Australian Open title.
In a poignant ceremony, Federer was reduced to tears as he collected his runners-up trophy, his fifth at the hand of Nadal! Choked with emotion, he could barely say a word and on his second try, poured out his thanks and promised to come back next year (hoping in his heart that he doesn’t get to meet Nadal again!). Nadal made a short and succinct thank you speech and despite playing for 10+ hours looked as pumped up as he was at the start of the tournament. Champion stuff indeed!
In an earlier match, Indian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza won the Mixed Doubles title after beating the French/Israel pairing of Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram 6-3, 6-1. This is Sania’s first Grand Slam title and Bhupathi’s seventh. There was another good news for Indian Tennis fans as teenager Yuki Bhambri won the Junior Boys’ title the day before. Liju has more in detail about the two wins here and here. The other winners at the first Grand Slam of 2009 were all American – Serena Williams, who won the Ladies’ Singles title as well as the Ladies’ Doubles trophy partnering elder sis Venus Williams & the Bryan Bros – Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan won the Men’s Doubles title.
Thus ended the first Grand Slam of 2009 – with the fairtyale run of Rafael Nadal not showing any signs of stopping anytime soon. Next in line is the French Open (which I don’t at all watch!) on the clay courts of Paris and few would bet against Rafa to win his fifth straight Roland Garros title.
Pic Courtesy: Australian Open Website