2022 Australian Open: Decoding the major takeaways
Rafael Nadal has won the 2022 Australian Open by dismantling Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. With this, he has become the first male tennis player to win the 21st Grand Slam titles. On Saturday, women's singles world number one Ashleigh Barty won her maiden AO honor by defeating Danielle Collins in straight sets. We present the major takeaways.
- A Herculean effort was required to organize the first Grand Slam of the year amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Australia.
- Though Tennis Australia was successful in its effort to stage the perfect on-field competition, off-the-field the tournament was marred with Novak Djokovic's controversy.
- Despite the chaos, the AO still provided high-quality matches and two incredible champions in Barty and Nadal.
This was Medvedev's fourth Slam final. Despite having the impetus by winning the first two sets, he let things slip as Rafa dished out a superb comeback. Medvedev has now lost three Slam finals. Prior to this loss, he had finished runner-up at the 2021 AO and 2019 US Open. His only Slam win came at the 2021 US Open.
Nadal has now won 21 Grand Slam titles, steering clear of Djokovic and Federer (20 each). This was Rafa's 29th final in total at Grand Slams. He now has a 21-8 win-loss record at Slam finals. Overall, Rafa has a win-loss tally of 298-41 at Grand Slams. His Slam tally reads: AO (2), French Open (13), Wimbledon (2), US Open (4).
Barty left little doubt about her current place in women's tennis following her dominant win in the Australian Open against Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (2). Barty has now become the first women's home champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978. With this win, Barty has sealed her third Grand Slam title. Earlier, she had won the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021.
Barty has a 11-0 win-loss record in 2022, winning two titles so far. She won the Adelaide International prior to the Australian Open. She has also gone unbroken for her 10th consecutive match after beating Collins.
Barty is only the fourth women's player in the Open Era to have 100% winning percentage in Slam finals (minimum three titles), after Virginia Wade, Jennifer Capriati, and Naomi Osaka. Barty has conceded the fewest breaks by a women's singles Slam winner since 2016 (3). She is the first AO women's singles winner with 30 or less games dropped since Mary Pierce in 1995.
Novak Djokovic was not given the chance to defend his Australian Open title after judges upheld the cancelation of his visa. He came to Melbourne after getting a medical exemption. However, the border authorities canceled his visa upon arrival. He was then sent to immigration detention before his lawyers filed an appeal. Although his team won the case, the government re-canceled his visa.
Matteo Berrettini became the first Italian man to reach the AO semi-finals. He reached the semis after defeating Gael Monfils in a five-set thriller 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2 in the quarter-finals. He lost to Nadal in the semis 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Berrettini has now qualified for the semi-finals in three of the four majors. He finished as the runner-up at 2021 Wimbledon.
Medvedev came from two sets down to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas in a blockbuster Australian Open semi-final 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. The match was marred with controversies as both players were penalized after the game. The Russian was fined a combined A$12,000 (about $8,400). Medvedev was fined for two code violations - unsportsmanlike conduct and audible obscenity. Tsitsipas was fined A$5,000 for illegal coaching.