Nadal Denies Federer, Wins Open

Tennis was sometimes sloppy, but drama always finely tuned
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2009 10:21 AM CST
Rafael Nadal hugs Roger Federer during the awarding ceremony after winning the Men's singles final match at the Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rick Stevens)
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(Newser) – Roger Federer fell short of a record-tying 14th major title when his final shot went long, giving the game, set, match, and Australian Open title to Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard's third straight finals victory over Federer came in a tough and sometimes sloppy five sets, and marks his first Grand Slam title on hard courts, reports the AP.

Nadal, now 13-6 against the once dominant Federer, had friendly words for his emotional opponent. "Roger, sorry for today. I really know how you feel right now. Remember, you're a great champion, you're one of the best in history." Federer won more points than Nadal, but struggled with his serve all night, and missed breakpoint chances.