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Brian Robinowitz

Early Monday at 1:37 a.m. the Australian Open Men’s Finalconcluded after a record 5 hour, 53 minute match – the longestmatch in the open era.

The competitors were Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the toptwo ranked players in the world. Going into the match, Nadal heldthe advantage in the series with a 16-13 record against Djokovic.In the 2011 season, however, Djokovic had won every contest betweenthe two, including several open finals.

In the fourth set, tied 4-4, Nadal fended off three break pointsand went up 5-4 on Djokovic. This game was huge for Nadal becausehad he not won it, Djokovic likely would have won the match thefollowing game. Soon after this game, rain began to pour, andorganizers called a 10-minute break to close the roof and clean thecourt. The fourth set went to a tiebreaker, and Nadal pulled awayto win the fourth set 7-6.

The fifth set was uncharted territory for these competitors -never before had they played a match through five sets. The twolooked evenly matched in the fifth set until Djokovic broke Nadalto go up 5-4 in the set. Djokovic continued to push himself throughthe set and to victory 7-5, winning both the match and theAustralian Open.

This match was an instant classic. Afterward, Djokovic called ithis most special Grand Slam win.

“This one, I think, comes out on the top because just the factthat we played almost six hours is incredible,” he said. “I thinkit’s probably the longest finals in the history of all Grand Slams,and just to hear that fact is making me cry, really.”

Fans wait eagerly for early June to see if Djokovic can claimthe only Grand Slam title he currently does not have – the FrenchOpen, of which Nadal is reigning champion.


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