Confirming himself as much more than the king of clay, Nadal resisted a fierce fightback from Daniil Medevev to end the Russian's breakout run with an epic 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 victory over the fifth seed in Sunday's final. Medvedev held easily to start the fifth set and then held two break points against Nadal's serve in the next game. After breaking to lead 3-2 in the fifth, in a game Medvedev led 40-love before flubbing an easy forehand, Nadal broke again and served for the championship at 5-2. The 33-year-old Nadal is the first player to win five titles after turning 30.
Nadal has Wimbledon crowns in 2008 and 2010, an Australian Open title in 2009 and completed the career Grand Slam in 2010 by defeating Djokovic in the US Open final, becoming the youngest in the Open era to complete the four-event career sweep.
Rafael Nadal's 19th Grand Slam trophy went from inevitable to suddenly in doubt in a thrill-a-minute U.S. Open final.
The star is undefeated in his French Open appearances and holds the most titles for singles, male or female, in tennis history. The three-time US Open champion has only lost one set and an average of 10 games with each win along the way.
"This victory means a lot, especially the way the match became so hard, so tough", Nadal said.
The numbers will say that Medvedev had more winners than Nadal at 75-62 and had nine more aces at 14. Nadal is trying to win the U.S. Open for the second time in three years.
A victory for Nadal would move him within one of Roger Federer's men's record for major championships.
"Another final of the Grand Slam and another final here in Flushing Meadows means a lot to me", Nadal said.
There was no shortage of break points in this one, nor of great shots fending those off. Nadal had more (21), good for six breaks (29% conversion percentage).
Not once since 1949 had a player come back from two sets down to win the US Open final.
"The way you are playing is a big joke".
Nadal was broken in the 10th game of the fourth set to force a fifth when Medvedev blasted a sterling backhand return victor. But Medvedev usually handled the tricky shots, flicking or flipping his wrists, sometimes with enough force to put Nadal in an awkward position for his next shot. "Because of the crowd, I was fighting like hell", Medvedev said. He started making the big serves, getting returns against first serve and staying in the point to finally take a set. And so he did, because Nadal double-faulted on break point after he was docked a serve for his third time violation of the evening.
"Personal satisfaction of the way that I resisted all these tough moments is very high".
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