Rafael Nadal finally broke down top seed Novak Djokovic after the two battled using everything in their arsenal. The Spaniard won his 13th Grand Slam title taking the U.S. Open Final, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
To use and old cliche, both players left everything on the court in this colossal fight that included a 54 shot break point and a number of points that tested both Men's endurance.
It was over 3:21 minutes of power packed guts for these two Champions. Ultimately, Nadal wore down Djokovic with his precise ground strokes forcing the Serb into a slew of unforced errors, 53 to be exact.
It was Nadal's consistent ground strokes that moved Djokovic around an placed him in a position where he was forced to take more chances. But, aside from the 53 unforced errors, the top seed came up with 46 winners.
Djokovic came out slow in the match and the first set went to Nadal in what felt like a blink of the eye. But it was was early in the second set where the native of Serbia turned the corner taking his play to another level breaking Nadal twice and finding 15 winners.
But it was the third set that seemed to take the wind out of Djokovic's sail. The World Number One seemed to have the momentum in the set with 3 break points at 3-3. But it was unforced errors that did him in and Nadal capitalized holding his serve and seizing the momentum for good. Nadal closed out the third set and Djokovic never recovered.
"It was disappointing that I dropped the third set, even though I felt like especially in first four, five games I was the one who was, you know, dictating the play, But it's all my fault, you know. I made some unforced errors in the crucial moments with forehands and dropped the serve twice when I should not have. You know, next thing you know, all of a sudden, it's two sets to one for him." Djokovic recalled
Nadal grabbed the momentum taken in the third set and held on firmly with both hands cruising to his 2nd U.S. Open Championship.
After winning match point, Nadal collapsed to the court before the two competitors embraced at the net. An emotional Nadal was brought to tears as he ran towards his box in celebration.
There is no wonder that this title would be emotional for the Spaniard who missed the 2012 U.S. Open, along with the 2013 Australian Open rehabbing a knee injury that brought question as to whether he would have the opportunity to rise back to the top.
But Nadal proved the doubters wrong by completing his comeback on Monday night. Not only winning his second Major of the year, but playing the best tennis of his career. He brought his hard court record to 22-0 this year.
After the match, the Spaniard put things into perspective,
"I really love the competition, I really love the sport. All my career I dreamed to be involved in matches like today. I enjoy every moment. These things are not forever. In a few years I won't have this chance. I try my best, I have passion and that's all I can do."
With the victory, Nadal picks up his 13th Grand Slam, only 4 behind Roger Federer. If he stays healthy and maintains his recent play, he is young enough to catch and possibly pass Federer and will have to be included in the conversation when discussing "best ever".
On this night in Flushing Meadows, the New York crowd was electric, thanks to the two competitors. Both players recievedt a number of standing ovations from a crowd who appreciates tennis. These two Champions put on a show that most will not forget. And on this night and fortnight, it was Rafael Nadal, consistently playing at a high level, that earned him another Championship.
A Sample of what the New York Crowd witnessed on Monday Night. A 54 shot break point: