Rafael Nadal fought off the comeback of Russian Daniil Medvedev to win the 2019 U.S. Open tennis Championship and collect the 19th Grand Slam title of his illustrious career. He now stands just one behind Roger Federer in the all time Grand Slam table.
Despite going two sets up in the final, Nadal was pegged back by the tenacious fifth seed Medvedev, making his Grand Slam final debut, who had the audacity to take the legendary Spaniard to a fifth and deciding set. It was an achievement in itself, as Nadal had, en route to the final, dropped only one set in the tournament (to Marin Cilic in the 4th Round). But Nadal broke the Russian twice in the final set to take a commanding 5-2 lead – and though Medvedev would fight back to make it 5-4, Nadal closed the match out in the tenth game to claim victory in what was a pulsating final – Medvedev losing nothing in defeat. The records will show Nadal winning the final 3 sets to 2 (7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4).
Nadal, the tournament second seed, had looked the one to beat throughout the tournament. Top seed and defending Champion Novak Djokovic had retired injured from his fourth round clash against Stan Wawrinka, due to a shoulder injury, but was already losing the match well and had not looked himself throughout the tournament. Then, Roger Federer fell, somewhat surprisingly, in the Quarter Finals to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov – whom Medvedev (above) would go on to dispatch with comfort in the Semi Finals. But Nadal’s progress had been serene – and his own semi final clash against Italian Matteo Berratini being the first time a set went to a tie break, which he duly won and then completed a rout with sets two and three being won 6-3, 6-1.
After the game, Nadal struggled to hide his emotion and paid tribute to Medvedev : “It has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career. It has been an amazing final. It has been a crazy match…..Tonight everybody saw why he is number four in the world. The way he was able to fight, to change the rhythm of the match, was incredible.”
The win caps a fantastic 2019 season for Nadal – appearing in three of the four Grand Slam finals, winning two, and only losing at Wimbledon to arch-rival Federer in a stunning semi final. At 33 years old, and five years the junior of Federer, it looks certain that not only will he catch the Fed Express, he will pass it as well.
RAFAEL NADAL – LIST OF GRAND SLAM TITLES
- Australian Open : 1 (2009)
- French Open : 12 (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019)
- Wimbledon : 2 (2008, 2010)
- U.S. Open : 4 (2010, 2013, 2017, 2019)