Federer beats Nadal in Australian final to win 18th major

Switzerland's Roger Federer follows through on a forehand to Spain's Rafael Nadal during the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer has won his 18th Grand Slam title and put some extra distance on the all-time list between himself and Rafael Nadal, the man he beat 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in a vintage Australian Open final on Sunday.

It was the 35-year-old Federer’s fifth Australian title, his first at a major since Wimbledon in 2012, and it reversed the status quo against his nemesis, Nadal.

Federer had lost six of the previous eight Grand Slam finals he’d played against Nadal, and had only previously beaten the left-handed Spaniard in 11 of their 34 matches.

Both players were returning from extended layoffs for injuries — Federer the left knee; Nadal the left wrist — and were seeded 17th and ninth respectively.

Nadal remains equal second with Pete Sampras on the all-time list, with the last of his 14 majors coming at Roland Garros in 2014.

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