Rafael Nadal won his 19th Grand Slam title after holding off Russian Daniil Medvedev’s exhilarating fightback in one of the greatest US Open finals.
Nadal, the No. 2 seed, prevailed in an instant classic for his fourth U.S. Open and 19th major title with a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory over the No. 5 seeded Medvedev of Russia, who displayed huge guts in his first major final. The match went 4 hours, 51 minutes in front of a spellbound capacity crowd that included Lindsey Vonn, P.K. Subban and Johnny Damon.
In the last tennis major of the decade, Nadal closed to within one of Roger Federer’s men’s mark of 20 Slams. It’s entirely possible Nadal could tie and surpass Federer sometime in 2020.
“Have been an amazing final, no? Since I had more or less the match under control,” Nadal said on court. “First word I have to say to Daniil is his summer is one of the best summers I have ever saw in our sport since I started playing.
“Everybody saw why he is the No. 4 player in the world at 23 years old. So many congratulations for everything. The way that he was able to fight, to change the rhythm of the match was just incredible. I’m sure that you will have many more chances to win here so all the best.”
Nadal, 33, also won his fifth major since turning 30, surpassing Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, who all won four apiece.
On the 50th anniversary of his second calendar Grand Slam, Laver presented Nadal with the trophy, left-hander to left-hander.
But Nadal stopped his momentum to clinch a thrilling win in four hours and 50 minutes – just four minutes shorter than the longest US Open final.
‘One of the greatest finals’ – Reaction
Thirty-nine-time Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King: One for the ages! Absolutely incredible #USOpen Men’s Singles Final with the indomitable @RafaelNadal winning his fourth US Open title. Congratulations, Rafa!
2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens: Wowwww that was unreal tennis – talk about leaving it all on the court. What a battle. Congrats Rafael Nadal & you too Daniil Medvedev
Former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski: What we have just witnessed is one of the greatest US Open men’s finals in the history of tennis. Daniil Medvedev was incredible to fight back from two sets down and a break. Rafael Nadal showed us why he is the greatest competitor we have ever seen on a tennis court. Slam No. 19!
Tennis great Rod Laver: Congratulations Rafael Nadal, a gutsy victory to claim your 19th major, fourth US Open crown and second Slam title this year after the French. Stand tall friend, you are closing in, it was a privilege to present this trophy to you tonight.