Photo Credit: Kin Cheung/AP

Thirty-five-year old Roger Federer took down old rival Rafael Nadal in five sets to win the Australian Open—his 18th Grand Slam title, but his first in five years.

Advertisement

His first official tournament in more than six months, due to the knee injury that nagged him throughout the 2016 season, Federer’s draw required taking down four of the open’s top-10 seeds (Nadal, Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka) in order to become the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in 45 years.

In a match full of back-and-forth and a fifth set especially full of tension, Federer won 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and thirty-seven minutes. After a fairly quick first set, Federer was down 0-4 in the second before rallying to push Nadal a bit and ultimately falling 3-6. He needed that same ability to come from behind in the deciding fifth set, with Nadal breaking him early and going up 3-1. Federer then took the next five games—including the final one, where he lasted through two break points to serve it out and take the victory on a forehand winner.

Advertisement

It was the first time he had beat Nadal in a Grand Slam tournament in nearly a decade, since the 2007 Wimbledon finals. Their head-to-head record record in majors now stands at 9-4 in favor of Nadal, with this match a throwback to extend the classic rivalry a little longer.