Rafael Nadal completes career Grand Slam with US Open win

Tennis fans all over the globe have been holding their breath throughout the two weeks of this tournament in anticipation of what could have been another clash of the titans on centre court. But the hopes of having a Rafa-Roger dream US Open final came crashing down two days ago, thanks to Novak Djokovic.

In the first semifinal last Saturday afternoon, Nadal made quick work of his match against Youzhny, outpowering and outplaying the Russian in 3 commanding sets 6-2 6-3 6-4. It was never really a contest. Nadal is through to the finals after 2 hours and 13 minutes.. The dream stays alive.

Then it was Federer and Djokovic’s turn. This one was a nailbiter. The 5-set thriller was nothing but extraordinary and an instant classic. Federer had 2 match points but couldn’t close it out. He had a breakpoint in the 5th set to break back and force a tiebreak but couldn’t convert as Djokovic went on to win the match emphatically 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5.

{Most} tennis fans, especially Federer’s fans, felt they have been denied of a dream final between this generation’s two best players. They have met 8 times in a Grand Slam final, with Nadal leading 6-2, but never in a US Open final. For the last 6 years, Federer has done his part to get to the final but Nadal was never there, twice a semifinalist the past two years.

But when Nadal finally made it through his first final at Flushing Meadows, it was Federer this time who failed to get through. Perhaps it is foretelling that the Rafa-Roger rivalry has seen its last days? I guess fans will have to wait for another year to see if that dream will ever come to a reality.

Instead, we have Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the finals. And I could not be any happier. Because if Federer made it through the final, that means that there is only a 50-50 chance that Nadal would prevail. And I would totally lose my mind and be impossibly nervous watching them play. And the idea of Federer winning over Nadal is just too much for me to handle. Though Nadal has the edge, still the Swiss is not regarded as the all-time greatest for nothing.

So the unrealized Rafa-Roger dream final is actually a relief for me. I for one have been looking forward to this moment. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are two of my most favorite players which means that whatever the outcome, I’ll be just as happy.

Nadal leads 14-7

These two players have met 21 times before but never in a Grand Slam final. Alas, a scintillating final between them has come to a reality. Nadal leads their head-to-head 14-7. Djokovic however has commanding lead over Nadal on hard courts 7-3 and has won their last 3 previous meetings. No player has ever beaten Nadal 4 in a row.

The men’s final had been pushed to Monday instead of Sunday due to persistent rainfall. Now this was good news for Djokovic. He needed that extra day off to recover from that grueling match against Federer. The match was also delayed for almost 2 hours in the 2nd set. So another extra time for him to regain energy.

Can Djokovic slay two titans in a row?

Djokovic was gunning for his 2nd Grand Slam title. He won his maiden Slam at the 2008 Australian Open where he beat Federer in the semifinals. This was his 2nd US Open final appearance. He lost to Federer at the 2007 US Open final. It should be noted that Djokovic had lost to Federer in 3 straight years at the US Open (2007 final, 2008-2009 semifinals) prior to this victory over the Swiss.

A lot was at stake for both players. So it was not quite a surprise that these two got into a slugfest, hitting balls from corner to corner, winning points here and there, losing points every now and then. They really brought their A-game on centre court. It was a high-drama and rollercoaster ride match. It was highly-charged, gripping and engrossing to watch. And the crowd loved it. I loved it. But in the end someone’s gotta give.

So after 3 hours and 43 minutes, Rafael Nadal prevails in four sets 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2. Sorry Nole, not today. Not today. But I am hoping that we will see more of the Rafa-Novak rivalry in Grand Slam finals.

Nadal has now become only the 7th man and the youngest player in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam at age 24, and also become the second player to win three straight majors in a single season since Rod Laver achieved the calendar year Grand Slam in 1969. He is also the 2nd player aside from Andre Agassi to have a career Golden Slam (winning all 4 majors and an Olympic gold medal in singles).

Nadal now holds 9 Grand Slam titles winning 5 French Opens, 2 Wimbledons, 1 Australian Open and 1 US Open. He has been confirmed to end the year at No. 1. Now, I only have one thing left I want Nadal to achieve this year: win the Tour Finals for the first time. That doesn’t seem like a tall order now.


Rafa’s Career Grand Slam Tribute

Nadal is redefining the way the game is being played and has earned the right to be included in the debate about who is the greatest player of all-time. Yes, he’s still seven Grand Slam titles shy of Roger Federer’s record haul of 16 – not that Grand Slam titles should be the only consideration – but it would be a brave observer to suggest the Spaniard won’t eventually approach or break Federer’s record, which may itself continue to grow in coming years.


7 thoughts on “Rafael Nadal completes career Grand Slam with US Open win

  1. Pingback: John
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  3. djocovic played the best he could, but nadal is just undefeatable at the moment. i think this man will rule tennis for the next 4 years

    1. well, we all know who ruled in 2011. I always knew that djokovic had the talents to be the best and be great but he didn’t have the patience and focus before. but he has finally understood what it takes to be a great champion and how to usurp both rafa and roger and firmly stay atop of the men’s tennis circuit.

      2010 was rafa’s year. 2011 is definitely djokovic’s. the serb started this year impressively as he captured another Aussie Open Slam title. but how far can he go? we’ll just have to wait and see I guess.

    1. i agree with you Quinn. and the same will hold true Xying only IF he stays injury-free. nadal better take care of those knees or else, we might have seen the best of him already.

      but i’m quite certain he will reach double-figure Grand Slams at least.

  4. New atp list ( 18.10.)

    1 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 11,880 0 20
    2 Federer, Roger (SUI) 7,335 1 20
    3 Djokovic, Novak (SRB) 7,145 -1 21
    4 Murray, Andy (GBR) 6,125 0 19
    5 Soderling, Robin (SWE) 4,825 0 24
    6 Berdych, Tomas (CZE) 3,715 1 24
    7 Verdasco, Fernando (ESP) 3,330 2 25
    8 Ferrer, David (ESP) 3,325 2 23
    9 Youzhny, Mikhail (RUS) 3,310 -1 24

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