Rafael Nadal claimed a 19th Grand Slam title after a thrilling US Open final win against Daniil Medvedev. The final looked like it would be over and done with fairly swiftly after Nadal found himself two sets to the good early on, however, the Russian produced a brilliant comeback to take the encounter to a deciding set. Nadal eventually prevailed 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in four hours and 50 minutes to move within one of Roger Federer’s all-time leading tally of men’s Grand Slam victories. So, in honour of this brilliant showdown, we’ve taken a look at some other great sporting finals to see how they stack up.
Jonny Wilkinson wins the World Cup for England
The 2003 Rugby World Cup final will live long in the memories of those who saw it. Whilst points weren’t exactly free-flowing in the game, England and Australia produced a gripping encounter. The match went to extra-time as the scores were tied at 14-14 at full-time. Both teams scored penalties to put the score at 17–17 and with less than 30 seconds left on the clock, Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal won the World Cup for England.
The Miracle of Istanbul
Liverpool looked dead and buried at half-time of the 2005 Champions League final as they trailed AC Milan 3-0 thanks to a goal from Paulo Maldini and a brace from Hernan Crespo. However, the Reds showed great spirit and determination to come back and tie the game at 3-3, thanks to a Steven Gerrard header, a long-range strike from Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso’s rebound from a saved penalty. The game went to extra-time, where Jerzy Dudek pulled off an incredible save to deny Andriy Shevchenko. The match went to penalties and when Dudek saved Shevchenko’s spot-kick, Liverpool won their fifth European Cup.
The Black Ball Final
In 1985, the World Snooker Championship final gripped the nation as Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor battled for the top prize in the sport. The match was tied at 17-17 and a deciding frame was needed. That frame went on to last 68 minutes. It looked all over when Taylor, trailing 62-44, needed to pot a very long brown ball, but he did just that, before sinking the blue and pink balls, meaning for the first time ever, the world title would be decided on the very last ball, the black ball. Both players, presumably full of nerves, missed chances to pot the black, with Davis, in particular, missing a cut shot that he would usually sink. That gave Taylor the chance to win, which he took, ending a dramatic final at 12:23 am, with millions of people staying up late to watch the showcase event.
Team GB win hockey gold via a shootout
The women’s hockey gold medal match at the 2014 Olympic games will live long in the memory of those who played in it and those who watched it. The game between Great Britain and the Netherlands was a back and forth affair. The match ended 3-3 after normal time, thanks to some amazing saves from Team GB goalkeeper Maddie Hinch. The game went to a shootout and Hinch was the hero again as she saved every Netherlands attempt. Helen Richardson-Walsh scored her early attempt for Team GB and Hollie Webb scored the decisive penalty to win the final.
Villanova’s buzzer beater
Whilst American college basketball might get a huge amount of publicity in the UK, its March Madness tournament is a huge deal in the USA and in 2016, the tournament produced a final for the ages. Villanova and North Carolina were tied at 74-74 as the clock ticked toward zero but just before the buzzer, Villanova’s Kris Jenkins scored a famous three-pointer to secure the title for his college.
Britain’s sprinters win gold
The Men’s 4x100m relay final at the 2004 Olympic Games was one of the most thrilling races of all time. The American quartet of Shawn Crawford, Justin Gatlin, Coby Miller and Maurice Greene were the obvious favourites and looked in a good place to win. However, a poor baton hand-off between Gatlin and Miller slowed them down, meaning Britain’s Marlon Devonish was able to pass his baton to anchor Mark Lewis-Francis with Team GB in a slight lead. Lewis-Francis headed for the finish line but Maurice Green of the USA closed in and as he dipped for the line, the American thought he’d won. However, the official timings showed that Team GB won by 0.01 seconds, giving Devonish, Lewis-Francis, Jason Gardener and Darren Campbell the honour of being Olympic champions.
New England pull off the comeback
At Super Bowl LI, the New England Patriots trailed the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 and they looked destined to lose. However, led by Tom Brady, the Patriots forced overtime by reeling off 25 unanswered points and in the added period, they scored the decisive touchdown to end the most memorable Super Bowl in recent history.
2007 PDC World Championship final
The 2007 PDC World Championship final is regarded by some as the greatest darts match of all time. It was Raymond Van Barneveld’s first PDC final since his move from the BDO, and he was up against 13-time world champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. Taylor stormed into a 3-0 lead but ‘Barney’ fought back and eventually, with the match tied at 6-6 in sets and 5-5 in games, a sudden death leg was on the cards. Barney eventually hit double 20 to secure the title and end a thrilling final.
England's netball team win Commonwealth Games gold
England’s netball team won the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal game against favourites Australia in dramatic fashion. England trailed by four points in the final quarter, but they dragged the score back to 51-51. With 20 seconds left in the game, both Jo Harten and Helen Housby missed chances to put England ahead but a late contact call saw Housby given another chance to put the ball in the net and she did just that to claim a famous win.
Steve Redgrave wins his fifth gold medal
Steve Redgrave joined the ranks of the all-time great Olympians in 2000 as he won his fifth gold medal in an enthralling final. At the age of 38, Redgrave, who intended to quit the sport four years earlier, joined Great Britain’s coxless four in Sydney. Redgrave, along with James Cracknell, Tim Foster and Matthew Pinsent won a truly dramatic final, beating the Italian team by just 0.38 seconds.
Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in Wimbledon epic
Earlier this year, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer put on one of the best men’s singles finals ever seen at the All England Club. In four hours and 57 minutes, Djokovic, who saved two championship points, won the dramatic meeting 7-6 1-6 7-6 4-6 13-12. The win was Djokovic’s fifth Wimbledon title and his 16th Grand Slam triumph.
England claim the Cricket World Cup
On the same day as Novak Djokovic’s remarkable win over Roger Federer, England and New Zealand produced one of the best games of cricket of all time. In the final of the World Cup, England looked defeated before a spirited performance with the bat from Ben Stokes took the game to a ‘super over’. England eventually won the encounter thanks to a dramatic run out in the final delivery of the tournament to spark wild scenes at Lords’.
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