By Michael Bennett
Roger Federer won a record 18th Grand Slam title, battling past Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 today in a thrilling Australian Open men’s final.
A determined Nadal forced a fifth set, while Federer went off court to see a trainer late in the match. But Federer came back fighting in the fifth set.
The two were surprising finalists after battling injuries last year. At 35, Federer claimed his first Grand Slam title since 2012, when he won Wimbledon for the seventh time.
The last time the two met in a Grand Slam final was in 2011 at the French Open. Nadal won the match in four sets.
It’s the fifth time Federer has won the Australian Open.
Nadal, 30, was seeking his 15th major title after taking months off to recover from a wrist injury.
Neither player thought they’d make it this far when the tournament began two weeks ago.
Federer was out for six months with a left knee injury. Ranked No. 17 in the world, Federer has played resurgent tennis in Melbourne, holding off Stan Wawrinka in five sets in the semis and beating Kei Nishikori in the fourth round.