Nadal marches past Djokovic to win US Open
Originally published on: 10/09/13 00:00
Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 in a thrilling match on Monday to close the gap on the world No.1 and regain the title he won in 2010 when he completed his career Grand Slam.
In front of a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Spaniard won his 10th title since returning from a seven-month layoff with a knee injury in February and is set to return to the top of the world rankings this autumn.
"Having this success is amazing," said Nadal, who is now just one short of Pete Sampras' haul of 14 Grand Slam titles. "I never expected it. That's life and I'm lucky to have what I'm having. 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."
As Queen Sofia of Spain watched on from the stands, Nadal took first blood midway through the first to take an early lead, before breaking once again to romp through the opener.
Djokovic rallied to take the second set, winning an astonishing 54-shot rally to break Nadal’s serve for only the second time in the tournament. Although he was broken straight back, Djokovic dug deep to carve out a second consecutive break before wrapping up the set with a backhand winner.
The momentum was with Djokovic in the early stages of the third set as he broke Nadal for a third game in a row, but Nadal weathered the early pressure, and broke back in the sixth game before breaking in the final game of the fourth set to put one hand on the trophy.
With the finish line in sight, Nadal staved off early pressure on his serve before grabbing an early break, and he never looked back as he streaked to victory in three hours and 21 minutes.
Having met for the 37th time in their careers, Nadal and Djokovic have now overtaken John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl (36) as the leading rivalry in the Open era. Nadal has won 22 matches to Djokovic’s 15.