Tough-guy Rafa shows his grit to take five-set classic

RAFAEL Nadal held off Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in a
five-set classic to win the US Open, moving just one position from Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slams.
The 33-year-old Spaniard, ranked among the top three performers for years, beat dark horse Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in front of a 24,000 crowd, who were buzzing throughout the epic clash, at New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Second seed Rafa was two sets up, before his 23-year-old opponent staged a remarkable comeback to force a decider, but street-fighter Nadal clung on.
The match lasted four hours and 50 minutes, just four minutes shorter than the longest-ever US Open final.
“It was the most emotional night in my tennis career,” said Nadal. “The nerves were so high; it was a crazy match.”
The Spaniard also paid tribute to his opponent, saying: “Medvedev’s summer is one of the best in the sport since I started playing. The way he was able to fight was just incredible.”
First-time Slam finalist Medvedev said: “Unbelievable, outrageous, Rafa winning his 19th slam title. It’s amazing for our sport what you’ve done. I fought for every point but, unfortunately, it didn’t go my way.”
Nadal, who also won his 12th French Open title this year, is now just one Grand Slam win away from veteran Swiss rival Federer, now aged 38.
The all-time men’s slam titles list now reads: Federer 20, Nadal 19, Novak Djokovic 16, Pete Sampras 14, Roy Emerson 12.

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