(ALJAZEERA) — Rafael Nadal has won his 19th Grand Slam title after beating a determined Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling US Open finals that lasted nearly five hours.
Nadal survived a heroic Medvedev fightback to claim an epic 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 win and a fourth US Open title on Sunday, moving within one Grand Slam crown of matching Roger Federer’s record of 20.
Nadal was already two sets up at the beginning of the game before going up a break in the third against a resilient Medvedev.
However, the second seeder broke for a 3-2 victory over his Russian opponent after the match was transformed into a thriller as Medvedev’s pressure left the Spaniard shaken and Arthur Ashe Stadium buzzing.
“An amazing final – seemed that I had the match more or less, it has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career,” Nadal said.
“This victory means a lot especially because of the way the match became so difficult, so tough. These type of matches in the final of a Grand Slam make them special.”
The 33-year-old left-hander has become second-oldest US Open champion in the professional era behind Australian Ken Rosewall, who was 35 when he lifted the title in 1970.
Not once since 1949 had a player come back from two sets down to win the US Open final. However, Medvedev, cheered loudly by a crowd that booed him mercilessly earlier in the week came close on the back of some brilliant tennis.
“I was being myself,” said the 23-year-old. “I was fighting for every point. I think they appreciated it.
“I know I have to leave my heart out there for them. I think they saw it and they appreciate it.”
Medvedev arrived at his first Grand Slam final as the hottest player in men’s tennis, riding the momentum from reaching four consecutive finals, but it was not quite enough to carry him to a maiden major title.