Zee Media Bureau/Suyash Srivastava
New York: Rafael Nadal was badly missed at the Australian Open earlier this year after his epic five-setter against Novak Djokovic in 2012. And when the Spaniard was recovering from his knee injury, the experts weren’t sure whether he would be fit enough to compete with the best in the business.
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But in the men’s singles final against Novak Djokovic in the US Open on Monday, the Spaniard not only silenced the critics but proved once again his worth as a world class player. Rafa defeated the current World No. 1 in four sets 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 and won his 13th Grand Slam title.
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The score line might not suggest, but the finale had the ingredients which are expected when two of the world’s best players lock horns with each other. Both the players took some time to get into their rhythm, and once they did, every point was played as if it was the match point.
Djokovic in particular, had a shaky start to the match as Rafa comprehensively won the first set 6-2. In the second, the Serbian executed some incredible forehands, and it proved to be his major weapon as he bounced back and won the second set 6-3 to draw level.
The third set was the highlight of the match where both the players were back to their usual best and while Djokovic troubled Rafa with his cross court forehand winners, the latter toppled the Serb by bringing top spin into play every now and then.
Djokovic missed some very easy chances when he looked all set to win the second set where he had triple break points in the ninth game. But Rafa not only saved them, but went on to hold serve in the tenth game and also win the set.
Ever since Djokovic lost those three triple break points, he never looked into his game as he also missed on two more break points in the final set. Rafa on the other hand looked extremely confident and sensing Djoker’s nervousness, he went for the kill.
Nadal now has 13 Grand Slam titles to his name, and the only legends who have won more in their career are Pete Sampras (14) and Roger Federer (17).