Rafael Nadal Outlasts Daniil Medvedev to Win U.S. Open & Claim 19th Grand Slam Title

Rafael Nadalis back in the winner’s circle at the US Open

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star survived a late surge from Daniil Medvedev to win the men’s title at Flushing Meadows and earn his 19th Grand Slam trophy.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal’s latest Grand Slam went from inevitable to suddenly in doubt in a thrill-a-minute final.

What had all the makings of a crowning morphed into a real contest Sunday thanks to Medvedev, a man a decade younger and appearing in his first major title match. Down by two sets and a break, Medvedev shifted styles, upped his level against a rattled Nadal — and even received an unexpected boost from Arthur Ashe Stadium spectators.

Truly tested for the only time in the tournament, the No. 2-seeded Nadal managed to stop Medvedev’s surge and hold off his historic comeback bid, pulling out a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory in 4 hours, 50 minutes of highlight-worthy action and Broadway-worthy drama to collect his fourth championship at Flushing Meadows.

“An amazing final. Seems that I had, more or less, the match under control,” said Nadal, who covered his face with his hands while crying when arena video boards showed clips from each of his Slam triumphs. “One of the most emotional nights of my tennis career.”

Now at 19 majors — a total Medvedev called “outrageous” — Nadal is merely one away from rival Roger Federer‘s record for a man.

Add the Spaniard’s haul in New York to his 12 titles at the French Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open, and the 20-19 gap between Federer and Nadal is the closest it’s been in 15 years. Federer led 1-0 after his breakthrough triumph at the All England Clubin 2004, and he had four by the time Nadal got his first, at Roland Garrosin 2005.

Federer, who lost in the quarterfinals at the US Open, is 38, while Nadal is 33 — making him the oldest male champion at Flushing Meadows since 1970. He’s also the first man to win five majors after turning 30.

Nadal says he wants to finish his career at No. 1 in the Grand Slam standings — ahead of Federer and Novak Djokovic, in third place currently with 16 — but also insists he won’t base his happiness on how it all shakes out in the end.

This particular match ended the way he wanted it to. The journey just took more detours 

Carla Suarez Navarro Defeats Maria Sharapova to Advance to the US Open Quarterfinals

It’s a birthday to remember for Carla Suarez Navarro

The Spanish tennis player ended former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova‘s perfect record in night matches at the US Open, reaching the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory Monday on her 30th birthday.

Carla Suarez Navarro

Suarez Navarro, the No. 30 seed at Flushing Meadows, face 2017 runner-up Madison Keys in her bid to reach the first Grand Slam semifinal of her career.

Sharapova, seeded 22nd, had been 22-0 under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The 2006 champion has lost in the fourth round of her past three appearances.

“Just a little too up-and-down,” is the way Sharapova described her performance Monday.

Sharapova collected the trophy in New York at age 19 in 2006 and owns a total of five Grand Slam titles, but the Russian was far shakier during this match than Suarez Navarro, who never has made it past the quarterfinals at a major.

The Spaniard will be at that stage for the second time at the US Open, five years after her other run to that round.

“A really complete performance,” is the way she described her play.

Suarez Navarro let the 22nd-seeded Sharapova create her own problems.

Sharapova had all sorts of trouble serving, repeatedly catching wayward ball tosses and committing eight double faults. She was broken in six of her 10 service games.

During lengthy exchanges from the baseline, Sharapova often blinked first, although a couple of times the righty managed to switch her racket to her left hand for a desperation shot to extend a point.

While both women finished with 15 winners, Sharapova had nearly twice as many unforced errors as Suarez Navarro, 38-20.

“I didn’t take care of the chances that I had. By ‘chances,’ I mean the balls that were a little bit shorter. I hesitated to move forward,” Sharapova said. “The balls where I did attack, I made unforced errors, especially on that inside-out forehand today.”

Since her championship, Sharapova has only once made it to the quarterfinals at the US Open — in 2012, when she lost in the semifinals. Since then, the best she has done are fourth-round exits in 2014, 2017 and 2018.

After this latest loss, Sharapova was asked whether she envisions herself getting back to her best in the future.

“First of all, if I didn’t have the belief to keep doing this and to keep having the motivation and the grind of doing this every day in order to get myself in these positions, I don’t think I would be here. I think I’ve done plenty in my career, established a lot for myself personally, professionally,” she replied.

“The belief is not something that I’m eager to show everybody else,” Sharapova continued. “The belief matters most when it’s internal and when you have a passion for something. If you don’t, it’s your choice to not continue that, not for anyone else to tell you so.”

Nadal Outlasts Novak Djokovic to Win U.S. Open Title…

Thirteen isn’t really that unlucky of a number for Rafael Nadal

The 27-year-old Spanish tennis star defeated Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open men’s final 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win the 13th Grand Slam title of his career and his second U.S. Open title.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal’s victory caps a remarkable comeback season. He’s won 60 of his 63 matches since returning from a seven-month hiatus forced by the chronic tendinitis in his knees.

Against Djokovic, regarded as the sport’s speediest retriever, Nadal proved the fitter man, pummeling the Serb with heavy topspin forehands, crafty backhand slices and rock-steady serves to win the championship.

“Probably nobody brings my game to the limit like Novak,” said Nadal, who fell on his back in relief when Djokovic’s final forehand plowed into the net to end the match, then jogged to the net to embrace his longtime rival.

With the triumph, Nadal moves into third on the list of all-time major titlists, behind Roger Federer (17) and Pete Sampras (14), and cemented his status as the most relentless competitor in tennis.

He also collected $3.6 million for his effort, which includes a $1 million bonus for dominating the North American hard-court season that feeds into the season’s final major.

Monday’s match was the 37th between Nadal and Djokovic and their third in a U.S. Open final. Nadal won the title in 2010; Djokovic exacted revenge in 2011.

Nadal had steamrolled into the match, compiling a 21-0 mark on hardcourts this season. He had lost his serve only once all tournament and conceded only one set.

But he hadn’t faced a challenger like Djokovic, the game’s best defender and a gutsy battler with a go-for-broke approach to big points.

While fans relished the matchup of the world’s No. 1 and 2 players, it was a fight both players knew would drain their last breath. Their last clash in a major, three months ago in the French Open’s semifinals, was a 4 hour, 37-minute classic that Nadal won 9-7 in the fifth set. And they staged the longest Grand Slam final in history, a 5 hour, 53-minute standoff for the 2012 Australian Open title that Djokovic claimed.

Monday’s reprise drew glitterati from around the globe, including Queen Sofia of Spain, famed Scottish actor Sean Connery and soccer legend David Beckham. But it was the 24,000-plus everyday ticket-holders who made Arthur Ashe Stadium crackle with electricity, screaming “Vamos Rafa!” and chanting “No-le! No-le!” at every shift of momentum.

In the end, Nadal outlasted Djokovic in a match that lasted 3 hours 21 minutes.

Afterward, he called it the most emotional match of his career.