US Open 2019: Rafael Nadal edges 5-set thriller against Daniil Medvedev to capture Grand Slam glory
In a match already being described as one of the greatest US Open finals of all time, Nadal raced into a two-set lead, only for Medvedev to come storming back into the match to take the contest into a deciding fifth set.
Eventually, it was Nadal's big-game experience and nerveless composure in the deciding set that proved vital as he edged out his younger opponent and secured victory after almost five hours of play at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.Also on rt.com From bad boy to fan favorite: Recapping Daniil Medvedev's remarkable US Open journey
In a first set that saw both men take control of their service games and Nadal handed a code violation after the first game for slow play, the two players slugged it out, with Medvedev earning the first service break of the match in the third game. But Nadal immediately responded to break back in Game 4 to put things back on serve once again.
The pair then battled it out all the way to the 12th game before Nadal eventually claimed the crucial second service break to take the set 7-5.
Medvedev looked to fire straight back at the start of the second set, but Nadal battled back to save set points and secure his first service game.
Then the Spanish ace put the pedal to the metal and upped the pressure on Medvedev's serve, breaking the Russian in the sixth game of the set before serving out the rest of the set to take a two-set lead.
Nadal kept the pressure on in the third set and outgunned Medvedev from the baseline in the fifth game of the set to break serve and put him in pole position to claim victory, only for Medvedev to battle back in the very next game to level things up once again.
And when the Russian produced a stubborn rearguard action to first save a break point, then brilliantly hold serve in Game 9, the crowd inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium rose as one to hail Medvedev's gutsy refusal to give up.
The momentum looked like it was swinging in Medvedev's favor, and when he broke a tiring Nadal in the 11th game of the set, it gave him the opportunity to serve out the set and get a foothold in the match.
And Medvedev turned that momentum into a bona-fide comeback as he produced some inspired tennis to break Nadal in the 10th game to win the fourth set 6-4 and take the match into a deciding set as the New York crowd exploded with joy.
Medvedev's inspired returns of serve forced Nadal onto the back foot as the Spaniard produced some of his best defensive tennis to hold serve as the fired-up 33-year-old roared his approval after holding his first service game of the set.
Then, after an epic fifth game in the set, Nadal made the decisive breakthrough as he came storming back from 40-0 down to break Medvedev's serve and put himself within touching distance of the title.
The three-time champion then produced an imperious service game before pressuring Medvedev into a pair of crucial errors as Nadal broke again with some sublime shotmaking.
It left the Mallorca native with the opportunity to serve for the match but in an unexpected twist, a time violation and a long second serve saw Nadal blow his chance as Medvedev broke back instantly to keep his hopes alive.
But Nadal recovered instantly and came storming back on Medvedev's serve. Some brave play from Medvedev saved two match points and held serve to put the onus back on Nadal again.
But while he fell short in his previous service game, he didn't falter in the 10th game of the set as he served out the match to capture his fourth US Open title.
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