Rafael Nadal won his 19th Grand Slam title, fourth in New York after a thriller against Daniil Medvedev. The Spanish player had to go through five sets in order to take this trophy, 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4. This trophy is Rafa’s big comeback to the tennis stage, following all the doubts that he can’t win tournaments which aren’t on the clay surface.
Nadal was up 2-0 in the sets, but Medvedev rose like a phoenix and made this contest one of the best US Open finals in the past several years. The 23-year old Russian showed that he is the force which needs to be recognized and that he has the potential to be a Grand Slam champion one day. He stormed his way back into the match, extending it to almost five hours – 4 hours, 50 minutes.
At one point, Rafa was up two sets and had a 3-2 lead in the third, along with a break. That is the moment when Medvedev started playing without any pressure and respect towards his opponent. A couple of hours later, he and Nadal were matched, and there was a chance to see the first comeback from 0-2 after 1949.
“The way that he was able to fight, to change the rhythm of the match, was just incredible,” Nadal said about his opponent.
But that didn’t happen, as the Spaniard showcased his massive mental strength once again.
“This victory is so important for me,” said Nadal. “Especially as the match became more and more difficult. I was able to hold the nerves. They were so high. It was a crazy match, and I’m just very emotional.”
After taking the Rogers Cup and now the US Open, Rafa indicated that he wants to get back to the No.1 spot in the ATP rankings. He is currently behind Novak Djokovic who has 11685 points, while Nadal has 7945.
On the other side, Medvedev was chasing his first Grand Slam trophy. The last Russian who won one was Marat Safin back in 2005 when he triumphed at the Australian Open. The American tour was one fantastic experience for him, clinching his first big title (Cincinnati) and playing all four finals (Washington, Rogers Cup, and US Open). He is currently the player with the most wins this season, 50, ahead of Nadal who has 47.
“Because of the crowd, I was fighting like hell,” said Medvedev. “In the third set, in my mind, I was already thinking what to say in the speech. I was fighting and I didn’t give up, but unfortunately, it didn’t go my way.”
His aggression changed the match, and once he started with a bit riskier game, Nadal had no solutions. Medvedev had more winners 75-62, and was better in several statistical categories at the end of the battle. However, he had neither the strength or the experience to close the contest in his favor.
Medvedev is now No.5 in the world with 4125 points and will present a massive threat for the Big 3 if he continues to play in the same manner. Several young players revealed their potential and announced that they might dethrone the leading trio, but neither of them had the continuity of good performances, and they all went down after some time. We’ll see if that is the case with the Russian here.
The next big tournament in the tennis world is next month. The Shanghai Masters in China starts on October 6, and that competition could have a great impact on future positions in the ATP rankings. Novak Djokovic defends the crown, and if by any chance Nadal wins this one also, the Serb’s No.1 could be endangered.