Wawrinka stuns wounded Nadal to win Australian Open

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Stanislas Wawrinka held firm in a match of high drama to defeat an injured Rafa Nadal 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 and win the Australian Open on Sunday.

The eighth seed roared to a two-set lead after top seed Nadal struggled with an apparent back injury sustained early in the second set, but the Swiss was left stunned as his opponent suddenly revived in the third at Rod Laver Arena.

Though restricted in his movement, Nadal fought back into the match with a barrage of clean hitting, completely throwing the Swiss off his game who surrendered the third set in a hail of unforced errors.

Running Nadal around the court, Wawrinka raised two break points in the sixth game of the fourth set and unleashed a withering forehand down the line to capture the break.

The Swiss then surrendered a terrible service game with a shanked forehand that sailed metres past the baseline and another that sprayed long down the line.

Despite the setback, Wawrinka recovered, firing a shot into Nadal's shoelaces to raise break points and whacked a forehand down the line to earn a chance to serve for the match.

Wawrinka stayed cool when it counted, serving strongly and sealing his maiden Grand Slam title with an imperious forehand rocketing down the line.

A relieved Wawrinka raised his hands in the air in celebration and after shaking hands with a gloomy Nadal, went to console the Spaniard at his chair.

"First, Rafa, I'm really sorry for you, I hope your back is okay, you are a great friend and a great champion," Wawrinka said at the trophy ceremony.

"You did a remarkable comeback last year. For me it's the best grand slam ever.

"Right now I still don't know if I'm dreaming. I guess I'll find out in the morning."

The 2009 champion Nadal shed tears at the trophy ceremony, overcome by the emotion of a roller-coaster match.

"First thing I want to say, is thanks to Stan, we have a great relationship and you really deserve it today, so many congratulations and all the best.

"To all the crowd, it's been an emotional two weeks sorry to finish this way, I tried very, very hard.

"Last year was a tough when I wasn't able to play here, thanks for your support, see you next year."

The triumph capped a remarkable fortnight for Wawrinka who became the first man in 21 years to beat the top two seeds at a grand slam since Sergi Bruguera pulled off the feat at the French Open in 1993.

Five days after ending second seed Novak Djokovic's three-year reign at Melbourne Park, Wawrinka denied a distraught Nadal from becoming only the third man to have won all four Majors at least twice.

BREAKING JINX

Though Nadal's injury clearly affected his game, Wawrinka had been well on top of their match early on and surged 3-1 clear in the first set after an early break.

Without a hint of nerves, Wawrinka blasted two aces before holding to lead 4-1, leaving the centre court crowd stunned.

Wawrinka stumbled when serving for the set to fall behind 0-40 but saved them all, as Nadal's returning went awry, and took the set with a crosscourt ace.

In all his previous 12 meetings against Nadal, Wawrinka had never won a set. Breaking that jinx propelled him on.

He broke Nadal in the first game of the second to march to a 2-0 lead before the Spaniard suddenly doubled over in pain.

He grimaced after a first serve and immediately signalled for a trainer and winced again after belting a forehand into the net from the baseline.

Nadal successfully held serve to trail 2-1 but quickly left the court for a medical time out, leaving Wawrinka to argue with the chair umpire about the lack of disclosure over the injury.

Nadal re-emerged after six minutes amid some jeers from the Rod Laver Arena crowd but his movement was clearly restricted and he was unable to generate any pace on his serve.

Wawrinka simply went about his business, marching to a 4-1 lead as Nadal double-faulted repeatedly and struggled to reach wide balls.

Nadal had more treatment on his back from a physio at the change of ends, then underlined his fighting spirit by holding serve to trail 5-2, but Wawrinka went on to serve out the set with an ace.

Whether it was painkillers or just pure grit, Nadal showed signs of a revival in the third set as he saved two break points before holding serve with a barrage of sweetly-struck forehands.

A searing forehand winner down the line gave Nadal two break points and astonishingly, the Spaniard broke a flat-footed Wawrinka when the Swiss bunted a bloodless forehand into the net.

As Nadal rallied, his eighth-seeded opponent sunk, spraying shots all over the court with his concentration clearly affected by the sudden momentum switch.

Still restricted in his movements, Nadal began gunning for the lines and his stand-and-deliver approach saw him march to a 5-2 lead.

With Nadal serving for the set at 5-3, Wawrinka had a chance to break back but was unable to flush the tension out and conceded the set when he smashed a forehand into the net.

As Nadal battled with his body, Wawrinka continued to battle with his mind as he broke Nadal in the final set and then gave it straight back.

Amid the doubts, the Swiss's serve never quite deserted him and it carried him to match point before his forehand sealed it to raise thunderous cheers from the terraces.

FOURTH SET - NADAL 3 WAWRINKA 6

Stanislas Wawrinka has won the Australian Open in his maiden Grand Slam final defeating world number one Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

World number one Nadal was injury-hampered from early in the second set but rallied after medical treatment to win the third set.

Wawrinka is the first player in two decades to beat the world number one and two in a Grand Slam tournament and will move up to third in the world rankings from eighth.

"Many thanks to Stan. You really deserve it," said a gracious Nadal.

Wawrinka is the first to beat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam tournament.

"Hope your back is going to be fine.
Always a pleasure to play with you," said Wawrinka after receiving his trophy.

"Right now I don't know if I'm dreaming or not. We'l see tomorrow morning," he added.

Wawrinka wins the game and match with a forehand winner down the line for his maiden Grand Slam triumph. Nadal 3 Wawrinka 6

Championship point for Wawrinka as the Swiss rattles Nadal with service winners.

BREAK! Wawrinka attacks Nadal with his forehand sealing with a crosscourt winner to serve for the match. Nadal 3 Wawrinka 5

Wawrinka has two break points forcing a backhand error at the net after winning a long rally with a backhand.

BREAK! Nadal answers in similar vein breaking Wawrinka who commits unforced errors. Nadal 3 Wawrinka 4

BREAK! Nadal is broken for the first time in the fourth set as Wawrinka seals it by blasting a forehand winner down the line. Nadal 2 Wawrinka 4

Wawrinka begins with a blasting a forehand winner down the line and has two break point forcing Nadal into a forehand error.

ACE! Wawrinka holds serve comfortably by firing in two aces. Nadal 2 Wawrinka 3

Nadal races to a 40-0 lead winning a crucial point after a Hawk eye challenge and hold serve. Nadal 2 Wawrinka 2

The final has just gone past two hours.

Wawrinka keeps his nose in front firing in a service winner followed by a forehand crosscourt winner and backhand volley. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 2

Nadal seals it with a forehand winner down the middle. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 1

Nadal fights back to take it to deuce forcing Stan into errors.

Wawrinka is pumped up getting two break points with by blasting a forehand winner down the line.

Wawrinka is almost flawless in the opening game of the fourth set winning comfortably firing a couple of backhand winners. Nadal 0 Wawrinka 1

THIRD SET - NADAL 6 WAWRINKA 3

Rafa Nadal dug deep and shook off an apparent back injury to capture the third set of the Australian Open final and trail Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 6-2 3-6 on Sunday.

The top-seeded Spaniard seemed to strain his back early in the second set and left the court for a medical time-out but after surrendering the set, he returned to the court swinging to stun Wawrinka with an early break.
 
With his shot-making showing signs of a revival, Nadal saved two break points before holding serve with a barrage of sweetly-struck forehands.

A searing forehand winner down the line gave Nadal two break points and astonishingly, the Spaniard broke a flat-footed Wawrinka when the Swiss bunted a bloodless forehand into the net.

As Nadal rallied, his eighth-seeded opponent sunk, spraying shots all over the court with his concentration clearly affected by the sudden momentum switch.

Still restricted in his movements, Nadal began gunning for the lines and his stand-and-deliver approach saw him march to a 5-2 lead.

With Nadal serving for the set at 5-3, Wawrinka had a chance to break back but was unable to flush the tension out and conceded the set when he smashed a forehand into the net.

The Swiss won the first set, broke Nadal in the opening game of the second and held serve to take a 2-0 lead before Nadal grimaced in pain and clutched at his back after playing a shot from the baseline midway through the next game.

Nadal successfully held serve to trail 2-1 but quickly left the court for a medical time-out, leaving Wawrinka to argue with the chair umpire about the lack of disclosure over the injury.

CROWD JEERS

Nadal re-emerged after six minutes amid some jeers from the Rod Laver Arena crowd but his movement was clearly restricted and he was unable to generate any pace on his serve.

Wawrinka simply went about his business, marching to a 4-1 lead as Nadal double-faulted repeatedly and struggled to reach wide balls.

Nadal had more treatment on his back from a physio at the change of ends, then underlined his fighting spirit by holding serve to trail 5-2, but Wawrinka went on to serve out the set with an ace.

In the first set, Wawrinka captured an early break to surge 3-1 clear and saved three break points before serving out the set, the first time he had taken one off Nadal in 13 matches.

With both players serving strongly in a smouldering start, the match suddenly came alight in the fourth game when Nadal made his first double-fault and Wawrinka crunched a passing shot to bring up two break points.

In a tense rally, the Swiss ratcheted up the pressure, with a big crosscourt forehand that Nadal was only able to parry into the net.

Without a hint of nerves, Wawinka blasted two aces before holding to lead 4-1, leaving the Rod Laver Arena crowd stunned.

The nuggety 28-year-old then tested the Spaniard again, punching a commanding backhand volley to raise another break point, but the Spaniard saved it.

Serving for the set at 5-3, Wawrinka stumbled, unable to land a first serve for five consecutive points, to concede three break points.

He saved them all as Nadal's returning went awry and he took the set with a cross-court ace.

Nadal fights back by holding serve to win the third set in just 33 minutes. Nadal 6 Wawrinka 3

Wawrinka saves a set point with a smashing forehand winner.

It's advantage Nadal as he saves break points and serves for the set.

Wawrinka has two break points as Nadal commits successive unforced errors.

Nadal is serving for the set while Wawrinka who is looking to break opens with a forehand winner.

ACE! Wawrinka fires his 17th ace of the final and holds serve with a forehand winner. Nadal 5 Wawrinka 3

Nadal holds serve answering a brilliant backhand winner from Wawrinka with a forehand of his own to stay alive in the final. Nadal 5 Wawrinka 2

Wawrinka has committed 13 unforced errors so far in the third set but holds off Nadal by smashing a couple of forehand winners. Nadal 4 Wawrinka 2

Nadal seems to be back in his element stretching Wawrinka who is looking for a break winning the game with a forehand winner. Nadal 4 Wawrinka 1

ACE! Wawrinka bounces back by firing in three aces. Nadal 3 Wawrinka 1

Nadal holds serve to take a 3-0 lead forcing unforced errors from Wawrinka's forehand. Nadal 3 Wawrinka 0

BREAK! Nadal wins the second game of the third set despite Wawrinka firing in two aces. Nadal 2 Wawrinka 0

Nadal gets two break points with a forehand winner after Wawrinka double fault.

Nadal wins a tight game as Wawrinka fighst back from 40-15 down getting advantage with a forehand winner. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 0

SECOND SET - NADAL 2 WAWRINKA 6

Stanislas Wawrinka raced into a 6-3 6-2 lead against Rafa Nadal in the Australian Open final on Sunday as the top seeded Spaniard appeared severely hampered by a back injury he picked up early in the second set.

The eighth-seeded Swiss won the first set, broke Nadal in the opening game of the second and held serve to take a 2-0 lead before Nadal grimaced in pain and clutched at his back after playing a shot from the baseline midway through the next game.

Nadal successfully held serve to trail 2-1 but quickly left the court for a medical time-out, leaving Wawrinka to argue with the chair umpire about the lack of disclosure over the injury.

Nadal re-emerged after six minutes amid some jeers from the Rod Laver Arena crowd but his movement was clearly restricted and he was unable to generate any pace on his serve.

Wawrinka simply went about his business, marching to a 4-1 lead as Nadal double-faulted repeatedly and struggled to reach wide balls.

Nadal had more treatment on his back from a physio at the change of ends, then underlined his fighting spirit by holding serve to trail 5-2, but Wawrinka went on to serve out the set with an ace.

In the first set, Wawrinka captured an early break to surge 3-1 clear and saved three break points before serving out the set, the first time he had taken one off Nadal in 13 matches.

With both players serving strongly in a smouldering start, the match suddenly came alight in the fourth game when Nadal made his first double-fault and Wawrinka crunched a passing shot to bring up two break points.

In a tense rally, the Swiss ratcheted up the pressure, with a big crosscourt forehand that Nadal was only able to parry into the net.

Without a hint of nerves, Wawinka blasted two aces before holding to lead 4-1, leaving the Rod Laver Arena crowd stunned.

The nuggety 28-year-old then tested the Spaniard again, punching a commanding backhand volley to raise another break point, but the Spaniard saved it.

Serving for the set at 5-3, Wawrinka stumbled, unable to land a first serve for five consecutive points, to concede three break points.

He saved them all as Nadal's returning went awry and he took the set with a cross-court ace.

Wawrinka wins game 40-15 and set despite Nadal serving three set points. Nadal 2 Wawrinka 6

ACE! Stan goes 30-15 up with his 10th ace of the final.

Wawrinka is serving for the set but opens with a double fault.

Nadal saves another set point with a backhand winner and manages to hold service as Wawrinka commits an unforced backhand error. Nadal 2 Wawrinka 5

Nadal saves one set point with a forehand volley winner and take its to deuce but Stan holds the advantage.

Wawrinka has two set points.

ACE! Wawrinka wrests back the advantage with an ace and holds serve with a backhand winner. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 5

Nadal fights back from 40-0 down with a couple of winners and takes the game to deuce.

BREAK! Nadal is clearly not his usual self as Wawrinka breaks him for the second time in the set with a backhand winner. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 4

ACE! Wawrinka is fired up and smacks two aces to hold serve. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 3

Nadal appears on courts after seven minutes and the final continues with Wawrinka serving.

Almost six minutes have gone and there is no sign of Nadal and for what he is being treated since he already has blisters in his left hand.

High drama as Wawrinka is insisting that Ramos should tell him what the problem is with Nadal.

Wawrinka is asking the umpire what is the problem but Ramos says he is not supposed to disclose it.

Nadal is off the court for a medical time out which will be watched closely match officials and anxiously by the Spaniard's fan.

Nadal manages to hold serves forcing a backhand error from Stan. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 2

Nadal is wincing holding his back as Wawrinka bounces after committing a couple of unforced backhand errors to make it deuce from 40-15 down.

Nadal fight backs but to close the gap to 30-40 but Stan hold serve with a forehand volley at the net. Nadal 0 Wawrinka 2

ACE! Wawrinka opens with a 217kmph ace in his first service of the second set and races to 40-0 lead.

BREAK! Brilliant start by Wawrinka who blasts Nadal's service with a backhand crosscourt winner. Nadal 0 Wawrinka 1

Stan the man has three break point with some brilliant play forcing Nadal into a forehand error.

Wawrinka goes 30-0 up in the second by firing in two forehand winners to rattle Nadal.

FIRST SET - NADAL 3 WAWRINKA 6

Stanislas Wawrinka took the first set 6-3 against top seed Rafa Nadal in the Australian Open final on Sunday.

Eighth seed Wawrinka captured an early break to surge 3-1 clear and saved three break points before serving out the set, the first time he has captured a set off Nadal in 13 matches.

With both players serving strongly in a smouldering start, the match suddenly came alight in the fourth game when Nadal made his first double-fault and Wawrinka crunched a passing shot to bring up two break points.

In a tense rally, the Swiss ratcheted up the pressure, with a big crosscourt forehand that Nadal was only able to parry into the net.

Without a hint of nerves, Wawinka blasted two aces before holding to lead 4-1, leaving the Rod Laver Arena crowd stunned.

The nuggety 28-year-old then tested the Spaniard again, punching a commanding backhand volley to raise another break point, but the Spaniard saved it.

Serving for the set at 5-3, Wawrinka stumbled, unable to land a first serve for five consecutive points, to concede three break points.

He saved them all as Nadal's returning went awry and he took the set with a cross-court ace.

Wawrinka has got only 38% of his first serves as against 73% by Nadal but fired in more winners (12) and more aces (3).

ACE! It's advantage Wawrinka as saves three break points and wins the opening set against Nadal in 37 minutes firing a brilliant ace. Nadal 3 Wawrinka 6

Nadal is fighting back getting three break points with backhand down the line and a forehand winner.

ACE! Nadal hold serve despite a double fault by unleasing his first ace of the final. Nadal 3 Wawrinka 5

Stan has hit more winners (11) than Nadal (3) and is just one game away from winning the opening set in his maiden Grand Slam final.

Nadal fights back to 30-40 with a forehand winner to the corner but Wawrinka manages to hold service. Nadal 2 Wawrinka 5

Wawrinka is rattling Nadal serving and volleying beautifully racing to a 40-0 with a backhand volley winner followed by a forehand winner.

Nadal fights back to deuce and holds service forcing a mishit from Wawrinka. Nadal 2 Wawrinka 4

Wawrinka is on a roll getting a break point after being 30-0 down unleashing a couple of backhand winners.

ACE!
Wawrinka has Nadal on the back foot by firing in two aces to win 40-15 and take a crucial lead. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 4

BREAK!
Nadal is broken for the first time after a superb rally by Wawrinka who finishes with an unplayable backhand. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 3

Wawrinka gets two break points as Nadal double fault and volley weakly at the net.

Wawrinka stuns Nadal with a backhand volley at the net as Spaniards attempts a chip.

Wawrinka is not getting his first serves in but holds it by executing a couple of forehand winners and sealing it with a backhand winner. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 2

Nadal makes a perfect start in his first service game sealing it with a forehand winner. Nadal 1 Wawrinka 1

Wawrinka hold serve with Nadal failing with his backhand. Nadal 0 Wawrinka 1

Wawrinka is up 40-15 with Nadal committing unforced errors.

It's game on as Wawrinka serves and wins the first point after a 13-shot rally.

Nadal is looking for his second Australian title in three years while Wawrinka is playing in his maiden Grand Slam final.

The warm-up is over and we are just minutes away from the start.

Carlos Ramos from Portugal is the chair umpire.

Nadal has never lost to Wawrinka with his record being 12-0.

Nadal has won the toss as the coin falls the wrong way for Wawrinka and the players begin their final warm-up at Rod Laver Arena.

Wawrinka comes out waving with his left hand to thunderous applause followed by Nadal.

The finalists are walking through the Avenue of Champions with Wawrinka leading the way.

Wawrinka lost 7-6 7-6 against Nadal at the ATP World Tour Championship duriing their last meeting. So the gap is closing.

Wawrinka is warming up under the stadium.

The Australian national anthem is being sung.

Pete Sampras delivers the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup to loud applause at Rod Laver Arena.

The Australia Day ceremonies have begun at Melbourne Park.

Nadal has never defeated another player more times without loss than Wawrinka.

"In 2002, tennis pundits said Pete's slam record would always remain! today Rafa bids to become the second to tie and then ...," Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi (@Maheshbhupathi) has tweeted.

For the ninth time in Nadal’s career, he’s facing a Swiss opponent in a Major final – but for the first time, that player is not Federer.

Brief biographies of the men's finalists at the 2014 Australian Open on Sunday (prefix denotes seeding):



Rafa Nadal (Spain)

Age: 27

Seeded: 1

Grand slam titles: 13 - Australian Open (2009); French Open (2005-2008, 2010-2013); Wimbledon (2008, 2010); U.S. Open (2010, 2013)

Began playing tennis aged four, the naturally right-handed Nadal switched to being a left-hander after his coach and mentor Toni Nadal, also his uncle, suggested it would give him an advantage on court.

Became first man since Swede Mats Wilander in 1982 to win the French Open title on debut with a four-set victory over Argentine Mariano Puerta in June 2005, the first of four successive titles at Roland Garros.

In 2008 beat then world number one and defending champion Roger Federer to win his first Wimbledon title. The final is widely considered as the greatest tennis match of all time.

In 2009 beat Federer in the final in Melbourne to become the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open in another classic five-set showdown.

Was beaten in the French Open for the first time when he lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009. It was his first defeat after winning 31 successive matches at Roland Garros.

Regained Roland Garros crown in 2010, becoming the second man after Sweden's Bjorn Borg to win five French Open titles.

In 2010, he also won Wimbledon for the second time. He finished the year by winning his first U.S. Open title, becoming the seventh man to win all four grand slam titles.

In 2011 he won his sixth French Open title, equalling the record set by Borg. From 2008 to 2011 he won seven out of seven grand slam finals that he contested but this run came to an end against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2011.

The Serbian went on to beat Nadal in the final of the U.S. Open that year and the Australian Open at the start of 2012.

He ended world number one Djokovic's hopes of holding all four grand slam titles at the same time by winning his seventh French Open title at Roland Garros 2012, winning 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5.

Underwent knee surgery that kept him out for the second half of the 2012 season and then missed the 2013 Australian Open with a stomach virus.

Returned to the ATP Tour and won four of his first five tournaments before he won his eighth French Open title - the first man to win the same grand slam eight times.

Surprisingly knocked out in the first round of Wimbledon by Belgium's Steve Darcis before he went unbeaten on North American hardcourts, winning at Montreal and Cincinnati and his second U.S. Open title.

Returned to number one ranking, three years after last holding it, in October 2013 and finished the year as world number one.

Path to the final

1st round - beat Bernard Tomic (Australia) 6-4 retired 2nd round - beat Thanasi Kokkinakis (Australia) 6-2 6-4 6-2 3rd round - beat 25-Gael Monfils (France) 6-1 6-2 6-3 4th round - beat 16-Kei Nishikori (Japan) 7-6 7-5 7-6 QF - beat 22-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 3-6 7-6 7-6 6-2 SF - beat 6-Roger Federer (Switzerland) 7-6 6-3 6-3


Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland)

Age: 28

Seeded: 8

Began playing at age eight, he has spent his entire career in the shadow of compatriot Roger Federer.

Left school at 15 to play tennis fulltime and won the junior French Open title in 2003 and two Challenger level titles in San Bendetto and Geneva. Was included in Switzerland's Davis Cup squad as an 18-year-old, beginning his long association with Federer.

Captured his first ATP tour level title in 2006 at Umag when Novak Djokovic retired with breathing difficulties in the final.

Broke into the world top 10 for first time in 2008 by reaching two ATP Tour finals and winning the gold medal in doubles with Federer at the Beijing Olympics.

Beat Federer for the first time in his career, a third round victory at Monte Carlo in 2009, though still inconsistent at grand slam level, unable to get past the fourth round.

Makes into final eight at a grand slam for first time in 2010 when he made the quarter-finals at the U.S. Open, beating Andy Murray in the fourth round.

Appears to have eliminated the inconsistency in 2013, starting with an epic five-set marathon against two-times defending champion Djokovic at Melbourne Park in fourth round, eventually losing 12-10 in the fifth.

Uses that to propel him to most consistent year on ATP Tour, with 14 quarter-final or better finishes. Captures fourth career title at Oeiras, beating world number four David Ferrer.

Reaches his first quarter-final at Roland Garros and then goes one better at U.S. Open with semi-final loss to Djokovoic, again in five sets.

Qualifies for his first ATP World Tour Finals appearance in London and reached the semi-finals before he lost to Djokovic.

Begins 2014 with his fifth ATP Tour title at Chennai.

Path to the Australian Open final:

1st round - beat Andrey Golubev (Kazakhstan) 6-4 4-1 retired 2nd round - beat Alejandro Falla (Colombia) 6-3 6-3 6-7 6-4 3rd round - beat 28-Vasek Pospisil (Canada) walkover 4th round - beat 17-Tommy Robredo (Spain) 6-3 7-6 7-6 QF - beat 2-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-6 9-7 SF - beat 7-Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) 6-3 6-7 7-6 7-6

MIXED DOUBLES FINAL

Canada's Daniel Nestor has targeted a mixed doubles Grand Slam in 2014 after pairing up with Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic to beat Sania Mirza and Horia Tecau and win the Australian Open title on Sunday.

The Wimbledon champion pairing were nominally the underdogs against their sixth-seeded opponents but wrapped up a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory inside an hour on Rod Laver Arena.

It was a third Melbourne Park mixed doubles title for Canadian Nestor after his 2007 triumph with Elena Likhovtseva and 2011 victory with Katarina Srebotnik.

Nestor then told his 20-year-old partner Mladenovic on court that he would now like to target a sweep of the Major titles to complete the Grand Slam in one year.

"I was half joking but I always tell my friends my best chance of winning grand slams nowadays are in mixed," the 41-year-old, who now has won a total of 12 Grand Slam doubles titles, later told reporters.

"But obviously I'd still like to win men's doubles titles, too... I just think this is the best chance, but I'll keep playing both and hopefully good will come out of it."

The last time a single partnership won doubles titles at all four Majors in one year was when Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver performed the feat in women's doubles in 1984.

Defeat for Indian Mirza and her Romanian partner Tecau denied Asia a second Australian Open champion in two days after China's Li Na won the women's singles title on Saturday evening.

"I've had a good week in the mixed so it's a good start to the year," said Mirza, who no longer plays singles.

India's Sania Mirza and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau suffered a 3-6, 2-6 defeat in their Australian Open mixed doubles final against Canada's Daniel Nestor and France's Kristina Mladenovic at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

Sania, 27, who won her Australian Open (2009) and French Open (2012) mixed doubles titles with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi, had her task cut out against the seasoned Nestor, winner of 83 doubles titles and eight men's doubles Grand Slams and three mixed-doubles crowns.

Sania and Tecau also lost in the quarter-finals to Nestor and Mladenovic at Wimbledon last year, where the Canadian-French pairing went on to clinch the crown.

Pete Sampras has tipped Rafa Nadal to beat Roger Federer's 17 Grand Slam titles, saying he has never seen anything like the powerhouse Spaniard.

American Sampras saw Federer go past his own 14 grand slams, and Nadal will draw level if he beats Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday's Australian Open final.

"He's incredible," Sampras said in a BBC interview after witnessing Nadal in action for the first time live on Friday.

"The movement he has is incredible, he is able to adjust his shots on the run, I've just never seen anything like it.

"He's tough, he's mentally tough, he has the whole package.

"He's not looking at 14 (grand slams), he's looking beyond. Realistically he could well get to 17 or 18 majors when it's all said and done. He's a great credit to the sport."

Sampras said he could not see Federer's compatriot Wawrinka upsetting the odds to beat Nadal in Melbourne.

"It's a tough match-up and I'm not sure he has the firepower from the back of the court. He's got to deal with Rafa and his nerves, it's his first major final so he needs to settle down and work his way into the match.

"I think Rafa's just playing too well."

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