Spanish tennis ace, Rafa Nadal, defeated World Number One Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2013 US Open, at Flushing Meadows on Monday.
Nadal, who has been in imperious form on hardcourts this year, produced some stunning tennis to win the match 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1, a 13th Grand Slam which moves him to within one of the mark set by the great Pete Sampras (14) and within four of Roger Federer’s 17 Slams.
During the match, which was an absorbing encounter throughout, there was a lot of power hitting and – as ever with these two – seemingly limitless amounts of resolve: one rally lasted for a monumental 54 points (Djokovic won the point), as the immovable object met, once again, the unstoppable force in the final of a Grand Slam between these two.
The quality of tennis on display was, at times, breathtaking, but, as in the days of yore, Nadal seemed to be steeled for the win throughout: when called upon, his nerve, as so often in his career, held.
A wobble in the second set looked like becoming his undoing in the third when, tied at 4-4, Nadal allowed his opponent three break points, but cometh the moment, up steps Nadal, a rock of a man from Majorca. Instead of falling down to a 5-4 deficit, Nadal roared back into the game, won it, then broke his man before serving out for the set. This brief period, then, and in retrospect, appeared decisive.
In the fourth set, the sudden reversal of fortunes brought about by Nadal’s grit appeared to have broken Djokovic, and the Spaniard powered to a victory-giving 6-1 lead as the Serb’s error count rose.
Both players paid homage to each other, after a match which is unlikely to be their last Grand Slam encounter. Nadal, having spent much of last year injured, was quick to explain how lucky he feels to be playing tennis at all at present:
“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.”