Ahead of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s clash in the final of the Australian Open tomorrow (Sunday) morning, your darling sportstainment platform, Top Media Nigeria makes a flashback to the longest Grand Slam final match (by duration) in history.

The 2012 Australian Open – Men’s singles final between the two warriors at the Rod Laver Arena lasted 5 hours 53 minutes, overtaking the record previously set by the 1988 US Open Final between Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl.

The contest – the last time Nadal and Djokovic played against each other in an Australian Open final – is considered to be one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. With both players playing at their highest levels, the match is memorable for being a war of attrition and for the impeccable quality and duration of play. Before this match, Djokovic played his semifinal against Andy Murray, which also went the distance – lasting 4 hours and 50 minutes.

The match itself

Nadal won the first set 7–5, gaining a break of serve after a long attritional battle. The second set was equally close, with Djokovic coming back from one break down to win the set 6–4 and level the match at one set each. The third set was the shortest of the match, as Djokovic broke Nadal twice to take the set 6–2. In this set, Djokovic dropped only two points on serve and broke again in game eight with a crushing forehand to lead for the first time.

Nadal won the fourth set tiebreak, 7-5 after trailing within the set and also down during the closely contested tiebreak; Djokovic had led 5–3 before Nadal took the next four points. The final set saw a return of the intense play seen in the opening sets.

Nadal celebrates when he picked up a crucial point in the memorable match | I Love My Life
Nadal celebrates when he picked up a crucial point in the memorable match. He gave his all, but it was not enough | I Love My Life

Nadal broke in the sixth game to take a 4–2 lead; Djokovic then broke back to level at 4–4. Finally, Djokovic made a decisive break of serve to win what is, in terms of duration, both the longest Grand Slam final in the Open Era and also the longest match in the history of the Australian Open.

What the match is known for

This match is central to the Djokovic–Nadal rivalry. Nadal called it the toughest loss of his career, but the best match he ever played. Djokovic said it was the finest win in his career and also commented on the high level of tennis played. Not only was this the longest Grand Slam final, but according to Tennis Channel and the Australian Open TV networks, it was one of the most-watched finals, despite ending late into the night locally. After the 2012 Australian Open, Rod Laver came out with his list of greatest players in the amateur and Open Era. Djokovic was ranked 6th and Nadal 5th on the Open Era list.

Djokovic can’t contain his joy after seeing off a tough Nadal in 2012 | The New York Times

Expect quality final!

This time around, expect fireworks again!

“We can promise one thing, and that’s knowing both of us are going to give absolutely everything out on the court,” Djokovic says of the match, via Sky Sports. “I think people will enjoy it.”

WATCH: The extraordinary final


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