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With the 2018 Australian Open reaching the final weekend we take a look back at some of the classic tennis matches on the hard court surfaces at Melbourne Park.
This match goes down as arguably the greatest match in Australian Open history. It came just 6 months after the pair had clashed during a classic encounter at Wimbledon.
This was a battle between two modern greats that ebbed and flowed continuously. Nadal took the first set but Federer replied immediately with some vintage ground stokes to make it 1-1. The next two sets followed a similar pattern and the outcome of such exciting tennis lead to a tense final set. After taking this set 6-2 it was Nadal who emerged as the Champion and winner of this grueling 5 set contest .
Prior to this tournament the Williams sisters had dominated women’s tennis, having faced one another in the previous three Grand Slam finals. The 2003 Australian Open followed this trend as the pair met once again in an epic encounter.
The first set was decided by a tie break and it was Serena who gained the upper hand. Despite drawing level in the second set Venus was unable to overcome the power of her sister, eventually losing 2-1. Serena was crowned Champion, and her dominance became undisputed. Her victory meant that she held all the Grand Slam titles at once.
The most emotional match that has been ever witnessed at Melbourne Park was contested between Pete Sampras and Jim Courier. Just days before the tournaments opening Tim Gullikson, the coach of Sampras, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
In spite of excellent service game Sampras went down 2-0 in the opening sets. However, he rose to execute an extraordinary comeback, with nearly 23% of his first serves acing Courier. During the final set, Sampras fought back the tears as Courier offered a reprieve saying. “We can do this tomorrow, you know.” However the match continued, and Sampras was able to battle through to claim victory in one of the most dramatic matches seen at the Australian Open.
Having not one a Grand Slam it was looking ominous for Murray who struggled in the early stages and lost the first set. However he was able to battle back took a 2-1 into the fourth set. Djokovic responded quickly taking just 25 minutes to draw the match level and take it into a decider. At this stage both players were struggling physically with individual problems.
Djokovic looked to be closing the fifth set out, but Murray rallied again to create a tense finish in Melbourne. In the end, it was the number one seed who managed to emerge victorious after holding and breaking to win the final set 7-5.
This match goes down as the latest finishing match in Australian Open history. It began just minutes before midnight and concluded at 4:34am on Sunday morning. Remarkably the majority of the 10,000 crowd remained seated throughout the contest despite its late finish.
Despite losing the opening set, popular Australian Hewitt responded well to establish a 2-1 lead and took a dominating position in the fourth set. Poised for victory, at 5-1 up, Hewitt collapsed. Baghdatis capitalised, taking this match further into the night. Despite his struggles, Hewitt regained his composure to close out a 3-2 victory and end a truly mesmerising battle.
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BY - Ben Menham
25 January 2018