Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal in Australian Open 2017 men’s final scores, video, updates

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Switzerland’s Roger Federer with the Australian Open trophy.Source: AFP

MANY people thought Roger Federer’s grand slam-winning days were behind him, but he defied his age and conventional logic to seal his 18th major title at the Australian Open.

The Swiss master, returning from the longest injury break of his career, capped a resurgent fortnight with a five-set victory over his long-time rival Rafael Nadal which extended his record haul of major singles titles.

His latest grand slam win was perhaps his most surprising, as Federer last won a big title at Wimbledon in 2012 and at 35, his best days were considered over.

But Federer beat Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6, 6-3 to become the second oldest major-winner in the post-1968 Open era, after Ken Rosewall won the 1972 Australian Open aged 37.

‘IF I DON’T SEE YOU …’: FEDERER’S RETIREMENT HINT

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MARIA Sharapova’s planned return from a 15-month drugs ban at Stuttgart next month is “disrespectful” to other WTA players, according to former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.

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The tournament will already be underway when five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova’s suspension ends on April 26, and she’ll play her first match that day.

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“I think it’s very questionable, allowing – no matter who it is – a player that is still banned to play a tournament that week,” Wozniacki said.

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“I think it’s disrespectful to the other players and the WTA.”

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Wozniacki said she had no problem with Sharapova, whose ban for a positive test for meldonium was reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, returning to the game.

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But she said the Russian star, whose world ranking has been wiped out by her absence, should play her way back into tournaments.

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“I think everyone deserves a second chance, and I think that she’s going to come back and she’s going to fight her way back,” Wozniacki said.

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“I’m sure she’s going to play well. But at the same time, I feel like when a player is banned for drugs, I think that someone should start from the bottom and fight their way back, because it’s different from an injury where someone is out because they had hurt themselves.

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“When someone has been banned for drugs and something that is performance enhancing, I think that you deserve a second chance like everybody else, people make mistakes. But I think you should fight your way back from the bottom.”

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Meanwhile, Samantha Stosur has been knocked out of the Indian Wells tournament in California, losing her second-round match against Julia Goerges 6-4 4-6 4-6.

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The 32-year-old, who had a bye in the first round, offered up 10 break point opportunities to Georges, who closed out the match after more than two hours on court.

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World No.18 Stosur suffered opening-round losses in her first three tournaments of the year, including at the Australian Open.

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But her form of late had been a little better, reaching the quarter-finals in Taipei and Doha, before a second-round loss in Dubai a few weeks ago.

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LLEYTON Hewitt is not happy as tennis officials move ever closer to scrapping best-of-five-set matches from Davis Cup.

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As elite players increasingly boycott the 117-year-old teams’ competition, the International Tennis Federation has endorsed reforms to reduce rubbers to best-of-three sets – possibly to be played over two days instead of three.

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The ITF said a meeting of its board of directors in Indian Wells had unanimously backed proposed changes for both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup.

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The recommendations will be put to the ITF’s annual meeting in Vietnam in August, with all changes requiring a formal vote of approval.

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Leading players have called for changes to streamline the format of a team tournament run throughout the year, with 14-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal the latest star to call for a shake-up.

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“The ITF need to make changes. I said a lot of years ago,” Nadal said.

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“And still now there is a new president and new staff that they are trying to make new things, and that’s always good.

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“We cannot have a Davis Cup champion every year that devaluate the competition.”

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Novak Djokovic, the only top-10 player to contest the first round of this year’s Davis Cup last month, also favours a change to best-of-three-set matches over two days.

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Such a scenario would leave best-of-five-set matches seen only at the four annual grand slam events, plus the men’s Olympic final.

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“I know Lleyton is not particularly impressed,” the Hewitt camp trumpeted from Indian Wells.

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Hewitt is Australia’s greatest and most passionate Davis Cup warrior and current captain and he made a career out of carving out epic five-set triumphs.

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All up, the former world No.1 won 32 matches that went the distance, his most famous a comeback from two sets down against Roger Federer in Australia’s 2003 Davis Cup semi-final triumph over Switzerland 14 years ago.

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Only all-time greats Ivan Lendl (36), Ilie Nastase (35) and Pete Sampras (33) have won more five-setters than Hewitt.

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