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Roger Federer wins fifth Australian Open and 18th Grand Slam title

In a stunning match befitting of the occasion, Roger Federer defeated long-time rival Rafael Nadal to win Australian Open 2017, his 18th major title.

The win also gave Federer his first win over Nadal at a Grand Slam event since Wimbledon 2007, and was his first-ever victory over the Spaniard in Australia.

At 35, Federer is now the oldest Grand Slam champion in his own lifetime. Australia’s Ken Rosewall is the only other man to claim majors in the Open era after his 35th birthday, the last of which came at the 1972 US Open at the age of 37.
Only two men in Open Era history have waited longer for their next Grand Slam title. Seventeen majors have passed since Wimbledon 2012, eclipsing the 16-Slam gap between Andre Agassi’s victories at the 1995 Australian Open and 1999 French Open. Nineteen majors came and went between Boris Becker’s 1991 and 1996 Australian Open titles, and 21 by the time Arthur Ashe followed his 1970 Australian Open triumph with victory at Wimbledon in 1976.
Not since 1982 has a man defeated four top-10 seeds to win a major. Mats Wilander beat Ivan Lendl, Vitas Gerulaitis, Jose Luis Clerc and Guillermo Vilas to win the French Open that year; Federer has beaten Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka and now Rafael Nadal.

Nadal came into the match with a 9-2 record against Federer at Grand Slams, incorporating wins on clay, grass and hard courts. This, their ninth showdown in a major final, was Nadal’s first Grand Slam defeat against the 18-time Grand Slam champion away from Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Roger Federer, a father of four who last year took six months off work to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery, has won seven tennis matches at the 2017 Australian Open – three in five sets – to hoist the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for a fifth time. In the process, he has defied age, critics, seeding and logic, and reaffirmed the brilliant, hopeless romance of sport.
It truly was the most special of victories for the most special of players.

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