SAN DIEGO, September 9, 2013 – The same windy conditions and the same comeback style of play that made Sunday’s women’s singles final so exciting also played a major role in the U.S. Open tennis tournament’s men’s singles final.
Although Novak Djokovic gave his opponent a real scare, Rafael Nadal held on to prevail, winning after returning from injury to take the title over the current number one ranked player Djokovic, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Nadal came on strong in the first set and it seemed he would have an easy time with Djokovic. Then a turnaround came during a 54 shot rally that electrified the fans and got them behind Djokovic, who won the point. Djokovic knows how to work a crowd and he engaged them to help the momentum turn in his favor.
Djokovic broke Nadal’s service for the first time in the match in the second set, allowing him to serve for the set win. He broke Nadal’s serve again in the first game of the third set, and at this point an hour and 46 minutes into the match, Nadal started to show some signs of fatigue. It’s been a long tournament for both men.
But Nadal was not giving up. He battled back to even the third set at four games apiece. Nadal held serve in a hard-fought nine and a half minute game which included the match’s fastest service ace, 125 mile per hour, punctuated by a slam that got the already excited crowd to its feet. Would the momentum of the match swing back to Rafa again?
It did. He won the third set, and in the fourth set he seemed to break Djokovic’s will. Nadal was most effective coming into the net. Like Victoria Azarenka in the women’s game Sunday, Nadal played exceptionally well when he came forward. Djokovic also helped with too many unforced errors, mainly due to returns going wide or long. Symbolic of the victory, the championship point came for Nadal when Djokovic returns a shot into the net.
One year ago, Nadal was watching the tournament on television at home after a knee injury Today, upon winning his second U.S.Open championship and his 13th Grand Slam championship overall, Nadal fell to the ground, emotional after winning about all it meant to him.
Nadal served harder, took more chances, moved faster and got the breaks. He broke Djokovic seven times in all; Djokovic broke Nadal only three times.
Djokovic told Mary Carillo of CBS, “I want to congratulate Rafa and his team. He was too good, he definitely deserved to win this match today and this trophy. Obviously it is disappointing to lose a match like this. But it was a huge privilege and honor to be fighting for this trophy, one of the most important and valuable in our sport. I will definately be coming back next year,” said Djokovic.
Nadal said, “I was very very emotional. When I play against Novak it always is a very special feeling. Nobody brings me to my limit like Novak.” Fans hope to see both these players battle again in the years to come.
As the winner, Nadal received $2.6 million prize money and earned $1 million from the Emirates Airlines bonus competition. It’s all but certain Nadal will return to the number one ranking based on his outstanding play in the U.S. Open capped by his impressive victory.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read Ringside Seat in Communities at Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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