Skip to comments.Rafael Nadal finally bests Novak Djokovic to win U.S. Open (Will He be Ranked among the Greatest?)
Posted on 09/13/2010 8:34:30 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
After Rafael Nadal waited out three rain delays totaling almost 2 ½ hours to win his first Wimbledon title two years ago in a match for the ages against Roger Federer, one stoppage of less than two hours Monday at the U.S. Open couldnt dampen his pursuit of history.
Neither rain, nor thunder and lightning, nor Novak Djokovic taking the first set against him all tournament kept the 24-year-old Spaniard from his appointed round with that history as he completed a career Grand Slam with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 victory over the third-seeded Serb.
He became only the seventh player to win the four majors it takes to achieve the Slam (Australian, French and U.S. Opens, plus Wimbledon) and the second-youngest to do so.
Hes also the fourth man since tennis open era began in 1968 to win three consecutive majors, having won the French and Wimbledon after Federer christened the Slam season by winning in Australia.
Thus, Nadal (who also won the 2008 Olympic gold medal) has now won his last 21 major-championship matches.
Plus, hes the first Spaniard in the open era to win the U.S. Open, after Manuel Santana in 1965 and Manuel Orantes in 1975 won pre-open era U.S. titles.
Yet this one took a lot more doing than his first six of the Flushing Fortnight, for in Djokovic, who lost to Federer in the 2007 final and won the 2008 Australian Open, Nadal faced his first opponent whod reached a Slam final.
Nadal had also played no higher seed before Djokovic (who ended Federers run of six straight trips to the final in the semis and will leap-frog him to become No. 2 in the world) than No. 8 fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, whom he dismissed in three clinical quarterfinal sets.
So, after losing his serve just twice in his first 92 service games, Nadal got broken three times Monday.
Many of the ground strokes he fired past or through his first six opponents, Djokovic (whod won their last three meetings and all seven of his lifetime victories against Nadal on a hard court, albeit best-of-three sets) fired right back at him _ at least for the first three sets.
Still, the player whos perhaps the best in the game at turning defense into offense delivered plenty of both to needed to physically wear out Djokovic and get the job done.
Thus, after the matchs final point, he again dropped into whats become his winning position: collapsing flat on his back in a split-second, this time rolling over to celebrate a major title he adds to his two Wimbledons, five French victories, plus one in Australia.
But he had to be persistent.
After breaking Djokovics serve in the matchs opening game, it took Nadal six break points to produce his second service-break of the opening set and three more to produce breaks in the second and third sets. And he lost the second when Djokovic broke him at 5-6.
But Nadal also squandered five more break points in one third-set game and 10-of-11 overall in the sets first seven games, yet won the set by losing only four points in his five service games and just one of 17 points when he got his first serve in.
And because Nadal had to work relatively easily to hold his serve and his opponent so hard to try to preserve his own in that set, Djokovic was all but cooked in the fourth.
He managed to fight off another break point in its opening game, but couldnt do the same facing a second breaker in the third game, allowing Nadal to get his nose out front.
A second service break made it 4-1 and although a punch-drunk Djokovic fought to the end, he couldnt keep Nadal from his march toward history.
Between Nadal and Federer, Nadal has shown that he has the upper hand when they meet.
I have not seen Federer show that he could master Nadal on clay.
Now Nadal has proven that he can win on almost all surfaces. He's only 24 and has another 5 years to exceed Federer's record of 16 Grand Slam singles title. At this age, he already has 9 Grand Slams and an Olympic Gold.
Federer on the other hand, is approaching 30 and is clearly on the decline. He will probably be ranked as the greatest tennis player ever until Nadal matches or exceeds his record ( if he can ).
Nadal’s physical and power style of play is not condusive to the long term. Federer’s efficiency of movement and style should outperform Nadal in the long run.
Congrats to Nadal. He is awesome.
I think Rafa is great. Federer is pretty damn good also. Once I thought that only Federer could beat Rafa and only Rafa could beat Federer.
What I like about Rafa is his professionalism, seriousness and his lack of pretense and showy emotion or histrionics. The same for Federer. Both great players. Both real pros.
You never know, Jack Nicklaus is still the greatest golfer of all-time with 18 Professional Majors + 8 Sr. Championship Majors and 2 US Ameteurs and is with Tiger Woods are only player to ever win all 4 majors at least 3 times. He was also 2nd in 19 Majors and finished 3rd, 4th, or 5th another 19 times. He also tied for 6th at age 58 at the masters.
It looked like Tiger Woods would easily catch him but he has slowed down the last 3-4 years with only 1 major in 2007 & 2008 and none the last 2 years. I expect Tiger to still catch Jack since he will be 35 at the end of this year and should win 6 or 7 more before he moves to the Senior tour in 15 years.
Federer is the best of all time in tennis, 16 Major titles is a record that Nadal may catch but he has to stay healthy and he has some problems in that area already and Federer will still have opportunities to add to his record, he might get 20 before he hangs it up.