Rafael Nadal Wins “Sweet Sixteenth” Major with Third US Open Title
(September 10, 2017) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Top seed Rafael Nadal won the US Open for his 16th major title beating 28th seed Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in the almost two-and-a-half-hour match. Nadal is now 16-7 in major finals. He has 10 French Opens, two Wimbledon titles, one Australian Open title and now three US Open crowns.
Anderson was the lowest ranking finalist, at No. 32, since the rankings were introduced in 1973. He was the first South African to reach the US Open final in the Open Era. Cliff Drysdale was the last South African man to reach a US Open final n 1965.
This is the Spaniard’s third US Open title, he also won the title in 2010 and 2013. He lost in the 2011 final to Novak Djokovic.
The 31-year-old Nadal is just three majors behind 36-year-old Roger Federer, who has 19. Nadal and Federer split all four majors this year, Nadal winning the French Open and the US Open, Federer taking Australia and Wimbledon.
In the first set which lasted 58 minutes, Nadal went 0-4 on break points until the seventh game when he finally broke through Anderson’s serve. Anderson hit 23 unforced errors to Nadal’s 5.
Nadal won 80% of his points on first serves, while his opponent was only 68%. Total points won in the first set – 42 for Nadal and 34 for 6’8″ Anderson.
In the second set, Nadal got into Anderson’s serve in the sixth game for 4-2 lead. Anderson and not Nadal was called for taking too much time between points. Nadal only lost seven points in his service games in the set.
Nadal kept the pressure on in the third set breaking Anderson’s serve to open it and held on to close the match out 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal was an amazing 16 for 16 on net points won. He made only 11 unforced errors in the match.
Coming into the tournament, Anderson’s best appearance in a major was reaching the quarterfinals of the 2015 US Open, when he defeated Andy Murray to get there.
For the fourth time in his career, Nadal has won at least two majors in a year. He won three in 2010, two in 2008, 2013 and 2017.
“Very happy, no? Been a great two weeks,” said Nadal. “Increasing level of tennis, increasing of confidence during that two weeks. Yeah, I have this trophy with me again here in New York. Means a lot to me, no? There is no better way to finish the Grand Slam season for me after a very emotional season in all aspects.
“So very happy the way that I played, happy the way that I managed the pressure, and the way that I was competing during the whole event, no? Playing better or worse, the competitive spirit have been there in a very positive way all the time.”
Nadal reflected on his struggles from last year:m “what happened last year, I tell you what happened last year. I was ready to win Roland Garros last year. That’s the real thing. I don’t say if I don’t get injury, I will win Roland Garros, because is something that is impossible to predict, but I really and honestly can tell you that I felt myself ready to win Roland Garros, because I was playing well. But of course when you get injury, then seems like the season is a disaster.
“But the real disaster of last year was the injuries. Because the level of tennis, when I was playing after Indian Wells, was good in almost all the events, no?
“Of course is something difficult to imagine eight months ago or nine months ago that we will be winning two Grand Slams each.
“But here we are, and just can say thanks to life for that opportunity. I think I did the right work. I believed on the work, on the diary work all the time. I still believe on these things to improve, and I wake up every morning with the passion to go on court and to try to improve things. Probably that’s why I still have chances to compete in this sport and to do it well. That’s all.”
“It’s definitely a few emotions and experiences I’m going to take from this whole two weeks,” note the runner-up. “I mean, obviously very pleased of making my way through to the finals and having that experience.
“I mean, a few players, you know, get that chance. It’s very tough. To step out on court against Rafa tonight, you know, I learned a lot of lessons. It was a difficult match, up against somebody who has been on that stage over 20 times before.
“You know, definitely a few things I needed to have done better. Obviously I had my work cut out for me, but I think overall, obviously it’s been, you know, a very, very positive two weeks for me.”
“(I) think the nerves that I was maybe going to feel, you know, I felt pretty good out there,” Anderson admitted. “I thought I was hitting the ball very well. It was more the conundrum of playing Rafa as opposed to being in my first final.
“I think there are a few positive steps I can take from that, that I was able to settle and at least give myself a chance. I think there are a few lessons I learned again against him that I needed to do differently if I play him again. I needed to execute them a bit better. All things considered, I felt I settled down very quickly.”
“For me is important because is the US Open,” Nadal added when asked about his hardcourt title drought. “More than if because is in hard or doesn’t matter the surface. I win one of the most important events of the year.
“Is true that I was not winning titles on hard for some time, but as I say the other day, is not that I was playing bad on hard. I played the final in Australia. I played the final in Acapulco, final in Miami. Ready to win titles. Didn’t happen, is true.
“It happened today. So very happy for that, and the US Open is an amazing event. The energy that this city and this court brings to me is unbelievable, no?
“I feel very connected with them, and I enjoy the passion that I feel in that court.”
Since the seeding expanded to 32 in 2002, Nadal became the first man has won a major title without facing top 20 seed.
Nadal earlier in the season clinched a place in the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
— Pau Ferragut (@PauFerragut) September 10, 2017