Second seed Rafael Nadal (Player Bio) remains unbeaten on hard courts this year as he ran out a winner of the 37th classic meeting with World no. 1 Novak Djokovic (Player Bio) and lifted his second US Open trophy after 2010. The top ranked Serb will be disappointed to lose his fourth final clash in Flushing Meadows; the only time he conquered the tournament was in 2011 when he defeated Nadal in four sets.
The Spanish matador has been the more convincing of the players during the two weeks in New York – he dropped his first service game in the second set of the semi-final – and he took over the initiative straight away by breaking Nole twice by 5-2 in the opener, the second time to love. He went one nil up by converting the first set point. Djokovic raised his game in the following set – he first squandered a couple of break points in the second game, but finally broke Rafa in the sixth game after winning a 54-shot rally. However, his celebration was cut short as the Spaniard broke back in a blink of an eye. A ten minute game followed in which Nadal missed a number of opportunities to make it 4-4 and eventually gifted Djokovic a break point – the Serb converted and made it one set a piece soon after.
Riding the momentum, Djokovic broke his rival to love in the beginning of the set three and came close to doubling the lead, but this time his arch-rival escaped the danger. The Spaniard now started to get a foothold in the set and managed to peg back to make it 3-3 after Nole missed two shots in a row. The ninth game might have been crucial for the outcome of the final – Nadal was unlucky to slip during the second rally and consequently fell 0-30 behind which was followed by Djokovic obtaining a triple break point. In response, Rafa first pulled off a splendid forehand winner, defended the second break point after a 21-shot rally and produced his first ace of the day to reach deuce – he wrapped up the service game by tucking away a smash. Serving to keep the set alive, the top seed went 30-0 ahead, but the Spaniard pulled off another comeback and clinched a vital set.
Djokovic was eager to get back into the match, but paid the price of wasting a couple of break points in the opening game of the set number four as Nadal first escaped to 3-0 and came within a touching distance of the US Open title by creating a double break cushion. He took advantage of the very first championship point to complete a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 final triumph after Djokovic netted his last forehand of the tournament.
“Probably only my team knows how much [today’s match] means for me,” Nadal explained during the trophy presentation. “Playing against Novak always is a very special feeling. Probably nobody brings my game to that limit like Novak did.”
“All the credit to him,” said Djokovic.” I had my momentum from midway second set to end of the third where I was supposed to use and realise the opportunities that were presented to me, and I didn’t do it. I didn’t deserve to win in the end.”