Rafael Nadal defeats Daniil Medvedev to claim 19th grand slam at US Open

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Rafael Nadal overcame Daniil Medvedev in five breathtaking sets to claim his 19th grand slam title at the US Open.

The Spanish second seed led by two sets and a break, but he needed to halt a thrilling comeback from Russian rebel Medvedev to win an epic showdown 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4.

Hot-headed Medvedev was playing in his first grand slam final, having revelled in his new role as public enemy number one of the New York crowd.

The 23-year-old had been jeered by those in the stands throughout the fortnight after he flipped them the middle finger during the third round.

Yet when he launched an unlikely counter-attack in the third set it was like Rocky in reverse, the fans around a packed Arthur Ashe suddenly chanting his name.

However, Nadal dug as deep as he has probably ever had to to secure a dramatic victory in four hours and 50 minutes to move to within one major title of Roger Federer’s record tally of 20.

Nadal, whose hackles were raised when he was given a time violation at break point down in the very first game, took the opening set with a break at 6-5 thanks to a whipped forehand winner and a lob which Medvedev dumped into the net.

The Russian saved four break points in his next two service games but the jabs kept on landing, Nadal breaking through again for 4-2 and taking a two-set lead.

Fatigue seemed to be setting in for Medvedev, who was being pushed all around the court, and when a backhand hit the net at break point in the fifth game of the third set he looked beaten.

But he kept swinging, somehow breaking back to level, and with the crowd now firmly behind their new darling, he repeated the dose at 6-5 to take it to a fourth set with Nadal now the man looking vulnerable.

Gutsy hold after gutsy hold followed until Nadal sent a forehand wide and Medvedev had a break point, which he dispatched with a stunning return to force a decider.

It was sensational stuff, but the odds were still stacked against Medvedev. He had never before won a five-set match and Nadal had lost only twice from two sets up in his career.

Nadal’s delaying tactics were irking the Russian but he fashioned two break points, then a third, only for Nadal to escape again.

When Nadal eked out a break point of his own at 2-2, Medvedev aced him. But when Nadal created another, a double-handed backhand putting him back in control.
Still the drama continued.

Nadal broke again but, serving for the match, he was given a second time violation by umpire Ali Nili and docked a serve at break point down, and promptly sent his second serve wide. Umpiring controversy is not confined to Serena Williams here, it seems.

Medvedev saved two match points on serve but when Nadal had the ball in his hand again he finally got over the line, a long Medvedev return bringing to an end a truly remarkable final.

An exhausted Nadal was in tears as he sat in his chair waiting for the post-match presentations.

He admitted: “It’s been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career.

“It was an amazing final, since I had the match under control more or less. Tonight everybody saw why he is number four in the world.

“The way he was able to fight, to change the rhythm of the match, was incredible.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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US Open: Rafael Nadal sets sights on 19th grand slam title

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Rafael Nadal reached the US Open final after a straight-sets win over Matteo Berrettini.

The Spanish second seed will face Russian Daniil Medvedev, who made his first grand slam final after beating Grigor Dimitrov, also in three.

Here, PA looks back at day 12 and ahead to day 13 at the US Open.

Shot of the day

Medvedev looked almost apologetic after this defensive forehand chop turned into a spectacular winner down the line.

Stat of the day

Medvedev is the third player, after Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi, to reach the finals in Washington, Canada, Cincinnati and at the US Open in the same season.

Miss of the day

Berrettini’s drop shot had been working well until, at set point in a first-set tie-break, he left one short. It might have been a different story had the Italian made it.

Quote of the day

When I was going to the USA, I didn’t know it would be this good. I have to say I love the USA! – Daniil Medvedev, the new diplomat

Serena’s record attempt

Serena Williams will equal Magaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam victories if she beats Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu in Saturday’s final.

Order of play

Arthur Ashe Stadium:

Chan Hao-ching/Michael Venus v Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Jamie Murray
Bianca Andrescu v Serena Williams

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Novak Djokovic withdraws and Johanna Konta advances on US Open day seven

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Novak Djokovic succumbed to a shoulder injury as his US title defence came to an end against Stan Wawrinka.

Meanwhile, Johanna Konta knocked out the third seed to reach a third successive grand slam quarter-final and her first in New York.

Here, PA looks back at day seven and forward to day eight at the US Open.

Shot of the day

Madison Keys bowed out but not before unleashing this forehand rocket against Elina Svitolina.

Stat of the day

Konta is the first British woman since Jo Durie in 1983 to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows.

Shock of the day

Djokovic’s defeat was a surprise, but he has been carrying an injury. The shock came when women’s second seed Ashleigh Barty fell by the wayside, going down in straight sets to an inspired Qiang Wang of China.

Quote of the day

“Yesterday I did my laundry at a laundromat in Brooklyn. I’m very special when it comes to laundry” – Grigor Dimitrov keeps it real

Villain of the day

Daniil Medvedev is still rubbing the Flushing Meadows crowd up the wrong way.

Fallen seeds

Women: Ashleigh Barty (2), Karolina Pliskova (3), Madison Keys (10), Petra Martic (22)
Men: Novak Djokovic (1), David Goffin (15)

Order of play

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Arthur Ashe Stadium:

Naomi Osaka v Belinda Bencic
Alexander Zverev v Diego Schwartzman
Marin Cilic v Rafael Nadal
Taylor Townsend v Bianca Andreescu

Louis Armstrong Stadium:

Donna Vekic v Julia Goerges
Andrey Rublev v Matteo Berrettini
Kristie Ahn v Elise Mertens
Gael Monfils v Pablo Andujar

Provided by Press Association Sport

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