Monday, September 9, 2013

Nadal earns 13th Grand Slam title

Rafael Nadal mounted a serious threat for year-end world number one status after the Spaniard lifted his tenth title of the season with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat of Novak Djokovic to win a second US Open title on Monday.

The 2010 champion in New York, who only began his 2013 season in February after seven months of knee injury absence, claimed the 13th title of his career at a grand slam, moving to within four of all-time leader Roger Federer.

Spain's emotional Nadal dropped to his knees and rolled on the cement of the Ashe stadium like it was his favourite clay after securing victory in just under three-and-a-half hours against his world number one Serbian rival.

"This is a very very emotional day for me," said the teary-eyed winner. "My team knows how much this means for me today.

"Playing Novak always brings a very special feeling; no one brings my game to the limit like he does.

"He's an amazing player and is having an amazing career. I'm sure he will finish as one of the best in the history of tennis." Nadal has now won 10 titles this season, going unbeaten in 22 consecutive hard-court matches in 2013. The 26-year-old stands a solid 60-3 as the season of his life moved into the autumn phase.

Nadal won the opening set, dropped the second but came back to win the last two — the fourth lasted only 40 minutes against a fading Djokovic — to add the trophy to on her lifted at the event in 2010.

The Spaniard finished with 27 winners and just 20 unforced errors while Djokovic committed 53 mistakes, converting on just three of 11 break chances. Nadal broke seven times from his dozen opportunities, including twice in the fourth set.

Djokovic sent a forehand wide with most of the court available to him to yield two Nadal match points, with the Spaniard claiming the victory on his first from the Serb's forehand into the net.

Djokovic, who won the January Australian Open, played finals in three of the four grand slams this season, He fell to 22—15 against Nadal, who has won six of their last seven matches dating to January, 2012.

"It's disappointing to lose a match like this," said Djokovic.

"But it's a huge privilege to be fighting for this trophy, one of the most valuable in our sport.

"Congratulations to Rafa, he was too good and deserved to win this match and this trophy." Nadal was playing a final for the 12th time in his last 13 tournaments in 2013. He came to the title match having been broken only been broken once and lifted the trophy with the loss of just two sets over the fortnight. He now owns 60 career titles.

Djokovic was the first player to reach four straight New York finals since Roger Federer advanced to six straight from 2004-09 (winning five). Djokovic was playing his 12th Grand Slam final and stands 6-6 in that category. The loss was his eighth of the season.
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