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Australian Open

Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal to win Australian Open title

Roger Federer has clinched victory over long-term rival Rafael Nadal in the ninth grand slam final the two tennis legends have contested. The match was billed as the biggest final ever played in the sport.

Swiss Roger Federer beat his long-time rival Rafael Nadal from Spain 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 for a fifth Australian Open title and 18th grand slam success overall.

The final between Federer and Nadal was billed as the biggest final in the sport, stretching the legendary rivalry between the two tennis stars to 13 years.

The 35-year-old Federer, whose record against Nadal in the grand slam finals has been poor, overcame the mighty challenge posed by the Spaniard as he made a come back from 3-1 down in the fifth set to win the championship.

Tennis Australian Open Rafael Nadal - Roger Federer (Getty Images/AFP/G. Wood)

Nadal missed a chance to surpass Sampras' 14 major titles

The Swiss player was playing his first tournament after six months due to injuries. Since 2012, when he won at Wimbledon, Federer had failed to add to his record 17 grand slam successes.

The win at Rod Laver Arena made Federer the first player ever to win five titles at three different grand slams. At 35, he also became the oldest grand slam winner since Ken Rosewall won the 1972 Australian Open at 37.

Nadal had also recovered from injuries, but he could not improve his winning record against Federer. The Swiss has now won 12 of their 35 matches and three of nine major finals.

Nadal, 30, and Pete Sampras of the United States, have 14 major titiles, now four less than Federer.

shs/rc (AFP, Retuers)