Rafael Nadal was pushed harder than he had been all tournament by top seed Novak Djokovic on Monday night, but the Spaniard leaned heavily on his titanic left arm, winning his second US Open and 13th Grand Slam title, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“Probably, only my team knows, how much means the match of today,” Nadal said, following his record 37th meeting vs. Djokovic. “Playing against Novak is a very special feeling. Probably nobody brings my game to that limit like Novak did.”
In a US Open rubber match spanning three years — Nadal defeated the Serb at the Open in 2010 while Djokovic returned the favor a year later — Nadal asserted himself as the best tennis player in the world, handling the top seed in 3:20 at Arthur Ashe. It was a far cry from their near-six-hour match in the 2012 Australian Open final, which Djokovic ultimately won. But what Monday’s final lacked in length, the two stars made up for in sublime skill.
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