Rafael Nadal defeated Danill Medvedev to win his fourth U.S Open Singles final on Sunday after a grueling battle that swung both ways until the decisive final set. Nadal won 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, with his less experienced rival digging in heroically for four hours and 50 minutes. This was Nadal’s 19th Grand Slam title. He is now just one major championship away from tying Roger Federer’s record of the maximum number of Grand Slam titles.
Nadal, 33 did not have the going smooth as he had to work hard for every point as the young and courageous Medvedev matched his shots. It is never easy to come back after being down two sets and that too in a Grand Slam final against a towering opponent but Medvedev didn’t look intimidated or in awe of the champion.
It was clearly one of the most exciting and fascinating U.S. Open men’s finals in recent years.
The injury-prone Nadal had almost given up his career but fought back from many setbacks over the years to move within one title for the record for most major singles championships in men’s tennis. Roger Federer is currently holding that title but at 38 he is looking increasingly vulnerable against his younger rivals including Djokovic who at 32, looks in fine shape physically and mentally.
Nadal has also won 12 French Opens, two Wimbledons and one Australian Open apart from the four U.S Open titles.
Nadal’s U.S Open win has now taken the winning streak of Grand Slam titles of the Big Three to 12.
“Well, we are getting old,” Nadal said with a smile, and added, “That competition, if that attracts fans and creates interest for people, that’s good for our sport, no? I feel honored to be part of this battle.”
The runner-up also won many hearts here with his brilliant game. The 23-year-old Russian was playing in his first Grand Slam final but showed no sign of frayed nerves. His lively effort on Sunday might have transformed him greatly and provided him the confidence that he is talented enough to take on the bigwigs of the game anytime.
In the U.S Women’s Singles Final held earlier on Saturday, the less fancied Bianca Andreescu defeated the overwhelming favorite Serena Williams to win her first Grand Slam title. In fact, she is the first Canadian ever to win a Grand Slam title. It was not an easy match as she had to fight the towering champion for every nearly point and also the crowd who were firmly supporting the pre-match favorite. The 19-year-old Andreescu won 6-3, 7-5.
Serena Williams was denied her 24th Grand Slam title by the Canadian who had to cover her ears at times to cut out the roaring sound of support for Williams by the clearly opinionated crowd.
“I know you guys wanted Serena to win, so I’m sorry,” Andreescu told reporters after the match. “Obviously it was expected for Serena to fight back, she’s done that so many times in the past and that’s why she’s a true champion on and off the court. But I just tried my best to block everything out and the last game wasn’t easy,” she said.
“Bianca played an unbelievable match,” Williams told reporters after the final. “If anyone could win the tournament, outside of Venus, I’m happy it’s Bianca. I wish I could have played better,”
At several moments of the game, it did appear that Serena Williams would turn the game back in her favor and make a stunning comeback but Andreescu was not the one to give up her well-earned lead. She won after reaching match point twice.
A win would have given Williams a shot at the record for most Grand Slam wins held currently by Margaret Court with 24 wins.
This is her third attempt at the record after returning to the game. The 8th seed had taken a break after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia.
The high hopes that the crowd placed on Serena comes from their belief in her ability to make stunning comebacks. She did it in her first Grand Slam and also more recently in the 2018 French Open to beat her Australian opponent Ashleigh Barty after trailing in the third set. She nearly repeated the feat on Saturday too.