Top seed Rafael Nadal clinched the Melbourne Summer Set title after registering a straight-sets victory over American qualifier Maxime Cressy in the final, here on Sunday. The 35-year old Nadal outclassed his opponent Cressy 7-6(6), 6-3 in an hour and 44 minutes final clash at Rod Laver Arena.
The Spaniard was playing for the first time since August this week after a foot injury curtailed his 2021 season. However, the World No 6 showed little sign of rustiness in Melbourne, not dropping a set at the ATP 250 event to earn his 89th tour-level crown.
In an entertaining clash, Cressy attacked Nadal with his high-flying serve-and-volley game, but the Spaniard returned well throughout and showed a great fight. The 35-year-old saved a set point in the first-set tie-break and rallied from a breakdown in the second set, before eventually winning the match.
"I want to thank all the organisations here. I feel privileged and a very lucky guy to be here again. I am coming back from some challenging moments in terms of injuries, so I can't be happier. It means a lot to be back and with a trophy in my hands," Nadal said during the trophy ceremony.
"This court has always been very, very special for me. The Rod Laver Arena is very, very special for everyone and it is more special because of you guys. You guys are a great crowd and I can't thank you enough," he added.
Nadal was competing in his first final on Australian soil since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open championship match in 2019. With his victory, the top seed has now continued his run of clinching at least one tour-level title every year since 2004.
On the other hand, Cressy was competing in his first tour-level final after standout wins over second seed Reilly Opelka, against whom he saved two match points, and third seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Cressy will rise into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday following his dream run in Melbourne.