Rafael Nadal won his 19th major and fourth US Open title on an electric night at Arthur Ashe stadium to move one step closer to Roger Federer’s record 20 titles.
The Spaniard defeated Daniil Medvedev of Russia in a five-set thriller that lasted 4 hours and 49 minutes. It involved a stunning comeback from the Russian after being down two sets to love and a break down in the third. Nadal won 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 to lift his fourth US Open title, to go with one at the Australian Open, two at Wimbledon and the whopping 12 French Open wins.
It was among the more intense Grand Slam finals played in recent times, with both players making their opponent play for each point. More so in the last three sets which saw Medvedev make a comeback.
The latter stages of the match, specifically the fifth set was full of ebbs and flows, with each player looking to seize the initiative and neither letting the other take control, or managing to hold the reigns long enough.
The 23-year-old Medvedev showed no signs of nerves as he matched the veteran Spaniard rally by rally, shot by shot, point by point.
Nadal acknowledged at the end of the match it was a brilliant title-decider.
“Medvedev’s summer is one of the best in the sport since I started playing. The way that he was able to fight was just incredible. It was the most emotional night in my tennis career. The nerves were so high. It was a crazy match.”
The victory brings Nadal to within one title of Roger Federer’s record slam count of twenty titles. He also joins an elite group of Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe with four or more US Open titles.
Medvedev was the undoubted star of the US Open series and moves up to number four in the ATP rankings and joins Novak Djokovic, Federer and Nadal for the year end ATP Tour Finals in London.
The Russian, who had earlier been booed by the New York crowd following an ill-tempered match against Feliciano Lopez, paid rich tribute to Nadal. Medvedev said:
“Unbelievable, outrageous, Rafa winning his 19th slam title It’s amazing for our sport what you’ve done. I fought for every point but unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”
Nadal has now strengthened his world number two ranking and with a handsome lead now in the ATP race to London, has more than a shot at ending the year as world number one for the fifth time.