Australian Open 2012: 10 Greatest Men's Matches in Tournament History

Delores Smith-JohnsonCorrespondent IIIJanuary 27, 2012

Australian Open 2012: 10 Greatest Men's Matches in Tournament History

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    For decades, every year, the Australian Open has produced some of the most memorable men's matches in tennis history. Because of that fact, it's quite difficult to select the best of the best.

    So, what's the solution?

    You pay tribute to 10 of the best with the disclaimer that there are so many more that are deserving to be listed.

    In determining the matches for this list, the criteria was not just determined by the tremendous skill set of each athlete participating, but also by the significance of the match in respect to the tournament as a whole. 

    Due to the huge selection to choose from, do be sure to share your favorite in the comment section. Or, if by chance your favorite has already been highlighted, share your thoughts on the match.

    To begin this slideshow, it seems so appropriate to congratulate Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, as well as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, on their 2012 semifinal matches. 

    The 2012 Australian Open men's final is set with Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal.

    These three matches will surely be viewed for years to come as not only being three of the best in Australian Open history, but tennis history in general.

    The following slides are in no particular order, as they are all great in their own way.

    Enjoy.

    Note: There are a few videos of some of these great matches. So, do feel free to reminisce.

Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)

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    Year: 2005

    Round: Semifinals

    Final Score: 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-1

    Match Significance: Due to the anticipation of seeing these two men face off, the night attendance for this match set a tournament record at 16,152.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)

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    Year: 2009

    Round: Semifinals

    Final Score: 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4

    Match Significance: It was the longest match in history, coming in at five hours and 14 minutes, just edging out the previous record-setting match between Boris Becker (GER) and Omar Camporese (ITA).

    Their match was five hours and 11 minutes.

Stefan Edberg (SWE) vs. Mats Wilander (SWE)

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    Year: 1985

    Round: Final

    Final Score: 6-4, 6-3, 6-3

    Match Significance: This was the first time in tournament history that two Swedes played in the final. Stefan Edberg won.

Stefan Edberg (SWE) vs. Ivan Lendl (CZE)

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    Year: 1985

    Round: Semifinals

    Final Score: 6-7, 7-5, 6-1, 4-6, 9-7

    Match Significance: This was the five-setter known for Stefan Edberg snapping a 31-game winning streak by the great Ivan Lendl. It also saw Lendl make a sneaky under-the-net shot (final game of the final set) that the umpire did not see. However, Edberg saw it and responded by hitting a winning shot.

    Edberg went on to win the match.

Joachim Johansson (SWE) vs. Feliciano Lopez (ESP)

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    Year: 2005

    Round: Third Round

    Final Score: 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 13-11

    Match Significance: This match is known for the most aces in a match in tournament history. Joachim Johannson won, hitting 38 aces. Feliciano Lopez was not far behind with 34. 

Dennis Ralston (USA) vs. John Newcombe (AUS)

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    Year: 1970

    Round: Quarterfinals

    Final Score: 19-17, 20-18, 4-6, 6-3

    Match Significance: This match was the longest match in tournament history based upon games played. Dennis Ralston was the winner.

Ken Rosewall (AUS) vs. Mal Anderson (AUS)

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    Year: 1972

    Round: Final

    Final Score: 7-6, 6-3, 7-5

    Match Significance: This match is known as the "oldest" match in tournament history for the fact that Ken Rosewall's age was 37 years and two months (oldest men's singles winner) and his junior opponent, Mal Anderson, was a young 36 years old.

    Another significant point about this match was it was exactly 19 years after Rosewall's 1953 win, where he was crowned the youngest men's singles winner at the age of 18 years and two months.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Roger Federer (SUI)

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    Year: 2009

    Round: Final

    Final Score: 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2

    Match Significance: This match was one of the most grueling in tournament history, as these two men battled past midnight in what was basically a duel to the finish. Rafa Nadal pulled out the win, becoming the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open.

    Nadal also became only the fourth men's champion to win Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces and the first men's champion to hold Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces at the same time.

    It was a very difficult loss for Roger Federer, who was reduced to tears as he spoke during the awards ceremony. Nadal, the compassionate opponent and Federer admirer, reminded him that he was a champion and one of the greatest players in tennis history.

Mark Edmondson (AUS) vs. John Newcombe (AUS)

9 of 10

    Year: 1976

    Round: Final

    Final Score: 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, 6-1

    Match Significance: There's such a sentimental story behind why this match was selected as one of the best in tournament history.

    Mark Edmondson came into this match ranked No. 212 in the world. His prior profession...picking up odd jobs.

    He was going up against John Newcombe, a two-time winner and No. 2 seed. There was no doubt that Newcombe was the heavy favorite to easily capture another win. Adding to the mix was very bad weather. It was reported that the wind was exceeding 70 kph (about 45 mph), and it was 40 degrees.

    In the end, Edmondson walked away the winner. And in Aussie tournament history, he was deemed "the last local men's singles winner."

    Apparently nervous, Edmondson actually dropped the trophy while at the podium during the awards ceremony.

Rodney Heath (AUS) vs. Arthur Curtis (AUS)

10 of 10

    Year: 1905

    Round: Final

    Final Score: 4–6, 6–3, 6–4, 6–4

    Match Significance: This match is significant, as it was the first final and first men's final (women began contesting in this tournament in 1922) of the Australasian Championships, which were eventually named the Australian Open.