Rafa Conquers It All!




Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Eyes filled with tears of joy for Rafa when he defeated Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in a rain-delayed US Open final on Monday to take a step closer to all-time tennis greatness. The world number one Spaniard completed his collection of Grand Slam titles with the Flushing Meadows crown. The men’s final was delayed by rains for the third year in a row; it drained on Sunday and interrupted for two hours on Monday at 4 – all in the second set.

Third-seeded Serbian Djokovic had to settle for the New York runner-up spot, the same he had to settle with in 2007 against Roger Federer. Nadal is the 7th player in tennis history to win all 4 Grand Slams joining the Elite club of Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Don Budge, Fred Perry, Andre Agassi and Federer who have also won the Australian Open, French Open, US Open and Wimbledon.

“I think for the first time in my career I played a very, very good match in this tournament,” said the winner. “I played my best match in the US Open at the most crucial moment. To be US open champion is what I always dreamt of. It was amazing to be in the final and actually have the trophy in my hands, it’s unbelievable.”

Nadal clinched the victory with teary eyes full of joy as Djokovic slammed his 47th unforced error in a marathon which lasted 3 hours and 43 minutes.

Rafael becomes the third champion from his nation, following in the footsteps of M Santana (1965) and Manuel Orantes (1975). He was the first Spanish finalist since Juan Carlos Ferrero, who finished runner-up in 2003 to Andy Roddick. Nadal’s victory was his 21st in a row at the Grand Slam level as he becomes the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win three consecutive majors.

Nadal will now be trailed in the ATP rankings by Djokovic, who returns to second after defeating 5 time winner Federer in their semi-final. Nadal now stands an impressive 9-2 in Grand Slam finals and becomes the first lefthander to win the US title since John McEnroe in 1984.

“I cannot hide the disappointment, but I won’t cry or complain, it’s just the way it is,” said Djokovic in the post match interview. “I’m feeling bad about my loss. I wanted that title, and I know I gave my best to get it even tonight. “But tomorrow I will wake up as a new man; I’ll continue working hard and wait for the next chance to come.”

Rafael won the opening set in less than an hour in the re-scheduled match, which had been washed out Sunday. But the re-play day was not blessed by the weather, with fast-moving storms soon arriving as predicted and forcing a 2 hour halt in play in the ninth game of the 2nd set.

When the skies cleared, the pair came back out, with Rafa storming from 1-4 down but unable to complete the job as Djokovic broke in the final game to level the sets at one a piece in the slow-moving title showdown.

Nadal got up a break for 2-1 in the third and carried the margin to the end, with Djokovic saving 4 break points in the 7th game before dropping the set three games later as Nadal took tighter command. Rafael achieved a double break in the fourth set, reaching 5-1 on his 47th winner of the testing evening.

Two games later, the winner was on his knees in joy as the reality of his accomplishment began to sink in. Nadal’s victory marked his 42nd career trophy and his 120th in a major.

By: Devesh D. Bhuwad

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