MELBOURNE, Australia — The Latest on Sunday at the Australian Open (all times local):
Rafael Nadal has won the second set 6-3 to level the Australian Open final against Roger Federer at one set each.
Federer won the first set 6-4, conceding just four points on serve. In the second, Nadal got breaks in Federer’s first two service games to take a 4-0 lead before dropping serve himself for the only time in the set.
The 35-year-old Federer is aiming to increase his record to 18 Grand Slam singles titles. The 30-year-old Nadal is aiming for his 15th.
Both players are returning from lengthy injury layoffs and are meeting in a Grand Slam final for the first time since the 2011 French Open.
Roger Federer has captured the opening set against Rafael Nadal 6-4 in the final of the Australian Open.
The 17th-seeded Federer converted the only break point of the set when Nadal hit a backhand error in the seventh game, giving the Swiss star a 4-3 lead. Federer only lost four points on his serve in the entire set.
Federer is back in the Australian Open final for the first time since 2010, when he won his fourth title at Melbourne Park. He’s aiming to extend his record Grand Slam total to 18 with a win here.
The ninth-seeded Nadal is aiming to win his first major title since the 2014 French Open and his 15th overall. He’s only won once in Australia in 2009.
Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal have combined to beat second-seeded Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig 6-2, 6-4 to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title.
The 35-year-old Spears played her part at the Australian Open golden oldies party with her win.
Spears was striving to win her first Grand Slam title in her farewell year. She plans to retire at the end of this season after a career in which she was twice runner-up in mixed doubles finals with Mexican Santiago Gonzalez at the US Open in 2013 and 2014.
The triumph by Spears and 30-year-old Cabal continued the veteran’s theme of the championships with 30-plus players in the men’s and women’s singles finals, too.
There was a lot of mutual respect going around before the Australian Open final on Sunday between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“Rafa’s definitely presented me with the biggest challenge in the game,” Federer said after his semifinal win over U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka. “I’m happy we’ve had some epic, epic battles over the years …”
Nadal said neither player could have imagined making the final of the year’s first Grand Slam after coming back from their respective injuries in 2016 — Federer, his left knee; Nadal, his left wrist. Both men took time off last season and had difficult draws in Melbourne because of their lower rankings.
“For me, it’s a privilege,” Nadal said. “It’s a very, very special thing, I think, for both of us to be in the final of a major again, have another chance to compete against each other after a couple of years having some problems.”
Nadal, who has won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, has dominated Federer, who has a leading 17 men’s majors, in their head-to-head matches. Nadal has a 23-11 record overall and has won nine of their 11 Grand Slam matches.
The match was an early-evening start, expected under clear skies and in temperatures of about 25 Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), allowing the roof on Rod Laver Arena to be open.
A Grand Slam final nearly six years in the making is just hours away at the Australian Open.
The last time Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal met in a major final was at the French Open in 2011, when Nadal won in four sets. Nadal holds a 23-11 edge, including semifinal wins at the Australian Open in 2012 and 2014.
Federer, with a leading 17 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, has gone further in the tournament than he ever expected after being out for six months with a left knee injury. Nadal, too, spent extended injury time on the sidelines in 2016.
The mixed doubles final will open the action at Rod Laver, with American Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal playing Sania Mirza of India and Ivan Dodig.