4 min read
The 2022 Australian Open was a nail-biting, dramatic affair from start to finish. Rafael Nadal (UTR Rating 16.17) and Daniil Medvedev (16.21) made the ending last as long as they possibly could, playing for 5 hours and 24 minutes before Nadal emerged the champion, 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 after 1 a.m.
It's time to recap the incredible fortnight that just unfolded.
Nadal Wins No. 21
Universal Tenis INSIGHTS predicted a very close men's final that was nearly too close to call with Medvedev having the slight edge at 52%. Nadal was playing slightly better recently with the advantage in trending three-month UTR Rating (16.16 to 16.15) He's 11-0 so far in 2022.
It looked like Medvedev had the trophy in his hands when he went up two sets to love and had triple break point at 3-2 in the third set. Medvedev had been the player to stop Novak Djokovic from reaching No. 21 at the 2021 US Open, but Nadal would not be denied this time.
The 35-year-old Spaniard has had an emotional time this fortnight after a foot injury put his career in jeopardy last year. He called this title the most unexpected and suprising achievement of his career and his greatest comeback ever.
Nadal needed to be in good health to outlast 25-year-old Medvedev for his first Australian Open since 2009 and 21st Grand Slam overall, putting him ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (at least for now).
“For me it’s just amazing," Nadal said. "A month-and-a-half ago I didn’t know if I’d be back and today I’m back here with you holding this trophy.”
Barty Ends Title Draught
Top seed Ashleigh Barty (13.40) was the INSIGHTS tournament favorite from before play got underway in Melbourne Park. She didn't drop a set and was barely spending more than 60 minutes on court per match until the final against Danielle Collins (13.03).
The 25-year-old Aussie needed 1 hour and 27 minutes to beat the American, 6-3, 7-6(2) to become the first Australian woman to win in Melbourne in 44 years.
I’m so proud to be an Aussie 💙 pic.twitter.com/ELbsqR4Vv8— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) January 29, 2022
She is now one of five active players to have won Grand Slam titles on each surface (Roland Garros on clay, Wimbledon on grass, and now the Australian Open on hard), joining Nadal, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic.
"I feel very humble to be in such a select group. To be honest, I don't really feel like I belong with those champions of our sport," Barty said. "It's amazing to be able to have this experience and this opportunity on three different surfaces and be really consistent across the board...
"I never probably thought it would ever happen to me."
INSIGHTS Makes the Call
When all was said and done, INSIGHTS had correctly predicted Barty as the champion (she started the event with a 16% chance). While Medvedev was initially given higher odds at 26% to Nadal's 18%, they traded the role of tournament favorite across the fortnight.
INSIGHTS called over 81% of men's matches correctly and over 75% of the women's. Barty has been appropriately dubbed the INSIGHTS best performer after playing like a UTR Rating 13.76 (+0.36) over seven matches.
"It was a little bit surreal. I think I didn't quite know what to do or what to feel," Barty said of winning championship point. "I think just being able to let out a little bit of emotion, which is a little bit unusual for me, and I think being able to celebrate with everyone who was there in the crowd, the energy was incredible tonight."
Doubles Takes Over
Unseeded duo Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis attracted a lot of attention on their entertaining way through the doubles draw. They would emerge as Grand Slam champions, beating Australian compatriots Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell 7-5, 6-4 in the final.
The two friends, dubbed "Special K", are the first all-Australian team to win the title since Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde in 1997.
"I have won some big titles around the world, played some amazing matches. This one ranks for me," Kyrgios said. "When I say I wouldn't want to do it with anybody else, I mean it. It was just special. The whole week, winning each round, I didn't take it for granted. I was soaking it in."
The women's doubles title went to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who have now won four majors together. The Czechs beat the unseeded duo of Beatriz Haddad Maia and Anna Danilina, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4.
In the junior event, recent UTR Pro Tennis Tour champion Alex Michelsen made his Grand Slam debut by reaching the boys' final with Adolfo Daniel Vallejo. They would fall to No. 2 seeds Bruno Kuzuhara and Chak Lam Coleman Wong. The girl's doubles title went to Clervie Ngounoue and Diana Shnaider. The No. 1 singles seeds in both the girls' and boys' draws, Petra Marcinko and Bruno Kuzuhara, won their respective trophies.
It's only right to end our coverage of the 2022 Australian Open with these words from Nadal:
"I'll do my best to see you next year."
To learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 10 a.m. EST, Jan. 30, 2022.