Nadal Defeats Djokovic to Win First U.S. Open

by John on September 14, 2010

Rafael Nadal became the seventh man to complete a career Grand Slam last night, defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 and winning his first U.S. Open title. It was Nadal’s third straight major championship and ninth overall. The three straight hasn’t been accomplished since 1969, when Rod Laver won all four. Yesterday’s final, postponed a day by rain and interrupted by a thunderstorm for almost two hours, was a match filled with incredible shotmaking and Herculean effort by both players. It was Jimmy Connors who said Nadal “plays as though he is broke,” and that’s the way the Spaniard hit the ball from the outset and throughout the 3-hour, 43-minute heavyweight bout. Nadal hit ridiculous winners from impossible defensive positions, but the Serb wouldn’t fold, countering his opponent’s heavy topspin with laser-like groundstrokes of his own. In the end, it was Nadal who delivered the most haymakers, leaving not the slightest doubt that he is the best player in the world. Djokovic was valiant in defeat and his performance should silence any of his critics who say he doesn’t have heart. Nole was a warrior yesterday. “I think for the first time in my career I played a very, very good match in this tournament,” Nadal said. “That’s my feeling. I played my best match in the U.S. Open out there at the most important moment.” Djokovic certainly wouldn’t argue that point. Down a set and tied 4-4, 30-30 when the rain came, Djokovic gained the momentum after play resumed, breaking Nadal in the 12th game to take the second set. Nole’s window of opportunity was short-lived, however, as Nadal broke serve in the third game of the third set and that was essentially it. “He took it away,” Djokovic said, “and he never gave me a chance to go back.” The No. 1-ranked Nadal has now won 21 consecutive Grand Slam matches, having also won the French Open in June and Wimbledon in July. Djokovic improved to No. 2 in the world in the latest ATP rankings, supplanting Roger Federer, who he defeated in the semifinals. “Nadal…is just proving each day, each year, that he’s getting better,” Djokovic said. “That’s what’s so frustrating, a little bit. He’s getting better each time you play him.”

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