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Nadal Defeats Djokovic For US Open Title

New York, U.S.A.

Nadal © Getty ImagesRafael Nadal wins his 13th Grand Slam title.

Rafael Nadal celebrated his second US Open title on Monday night at Flushing Meadows with a battling 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, improving to a perfect 22-0 record on hard courts this season.

The 27-year-old Spaniard, who claimed his 13th major title from 18 finals, now stands just one triumph behind Pete Sampras on the all-time Grand Slam titles list and four back of leader Roger Federer.

Nadal had missed last year’s US Open due to a knee injury, and called it “very, very emotional” to return and win the title. “Probably only my team knows how much [today’s match] means for me,” he said during the trophy presentation. “Playing against Novak always is a very special feeling. Probably nobody brings my game to that limit like Novak did.”   

How The Final Was Won

With his 10th title and 60th match win of the season, Nadal further strengthened his lead over Djokovic in the battle for year-end World No. 1. He currently has 11,010 points to the Serbian’s 7,970 in the Emirates ATP Race To London. Both players have already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held in November at The O2. 

In Nadal’s last two visit to Flushing Meadows, he had also faced Djokovic in the final. Nadal won in 2010 to complete the career Grand Slam, and Djokovic won the following year. Both of those matches were also decided in four sets.

The end of the third set proved the pivotal stage Monday, in the 12th US Open final featuring the top two seeds. Nadal, who had dropped three straight service games at the end of the second set and start of the third, rallied from triple break point down in the ninth game to hold serve. He broke Djokovic in the next game to take the two-sets-to-one lead and conceded just one more game, clinching the victory after three hours and 21 minutes.

“It's like it was a momentum change out there from love/40, 4-all third set, he started playing really good,” said Djokovic. “He served well few points. I didn’t do anything I felt wrong in these few points.  He didn’t make a mistake. He served well. He came to the net.

“All the credit to him. I had my momentum from midway second set to end of the third where I was supposed to use and realise the opportunities that were presented to me, and I didn’t do it. I didn’t deserve to win in the end.”

Nadal earned a total of $3.6 million, including $1 million in bonus prize money for winning the 2013 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge. He is the first player since Andy Roddick in 2003 to complete the summer hard-court hat-trick by winning the Coupe Rogers, the Western & Southern Open and the US Open

The Mallorcan, who returned to action in February after a seven-month absence, had begun his hard-court campaign in March by winning the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. 

He drew level with Djokovic in Grand Slam final meetings at 3-3, and extended his lead in their FedEx Head2Head to 22-15 with his third straight win over the Serbian. The rivals were facing off for an Open Era record 37th time, surpassing the mark previously set by Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.

Djokovic, this year’s Australian Open champion, was looking to win his seventh Grand Slam title. He was contesting his fourth straight US Open final and fifth overall (1-4).

“It’s obviously disappointing to lose a match like this, but again it was a huge privilege and honour to be fighting for this trophy,” he said.

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