US Open - Nadal seals career Grand Slam in NYC

Eurosport - Tue, 14 Sep 03:11:00 2010

World number one Rafael Nadal became only the seventh man in history to complete a career Grand Slam when he beat Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.

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Nadal, who also lifted the French Open and Wimbledon titles earlier this summer, proved too much for the third-seeded Serb and triumphed 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2 in three hours and 42 minutes.

At 24 years of age Nadal becomes the youngest player in the Open era to complete the career Grand Slam.

Nadal joins Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi and most recently Roger Federer in winning all four major titles in his career and becomes the first man since Laver in 1969 to be victorious in Paris, London and New York in one season.

"That's more than what I dreamt," he said at the trophy presentation.

"It's just amazing to be here in this final, just to arrive in this final. To have this trophy here in a few seconds, with my hands, is gonna be unbelievable."

Nadal, who now has a total of nine Grand Slam titles to his name, started the match in blistering fashion; breaking in the very first game despite Djokovic winning an entertaining opening point with a backhand winner across court.

The Serb, struggling with a troublesome left ankle early on, took a while to warm to the match but broke back in the fourth after a series of errors from the Spaniard.

But Nadal regained his advantage almost immediately when, after squandering five break points, he managed to find a forehand winner which left Djokovic smashing his racquet in frustration.

One code violation later, things were about to get worse for Djokovic as he slapped a backhand long of the baseline to hand Nadal the first set in 50 minutes.

A day after the match had been completely washed-out due to torrential rain, the inclement weather again threatened to ruin proceedings with the players being forced off the court.

Bright sunshine had greeted the start of the match at 16:00 local time (21:00 BST) but as the second set went on, clouds rolled in and the floodlights were switched on in a bid to stave off the gloom.

The first three games of the second set went with serve before Nadal suffered a lapse in concentration and gifted Djokovic a break with a double fault and a forehand long across court.

As suddenly as he had lost concentration, though, Nadal regained the momentum reeling off three games in a row, including a break back to level at 4-4.

But with Djokovic struggling to steady the ship and, with the scores locked at 30-30 in the ninth game, the skies opened and a thunderstorm forced the suspension of play.

When play resumed a little over two hours later, Djokovic was quick to hold before going on to break and wrap up the set in the 12th game when Nadal netted a forehand.

Clearly angered by dropping his first set of the tournament, Nadal bounced right back to break in the third game of the third set; a backhand winner across court earning him a break point before Djokovic conceded the game with a cross court forehand well wide.

Nadal dominated the rest of the set, enjoying three more break points in the fifth game and then another five in the seventh game but failing to take advantage of any of them, before wrapping things up with two unreturnable serves and an ace.

The fourth set continued in much the same vein with Nadal easily over-powering the tiring Djokovic in both the third and the fifth game - the Serb dumping forehands into the net on both occasions.

Djokovic, who will move ahead of Federer to number two in the world when the new rankings are released, briefly threatened a comeback in the sixth game but could only send a forehand long on a break point and Nadal moved to within one game of the championship.

Credit should go to the Serb who, despite allowing his frustrations to get to him in past matches, refused to give up on the match and held from 30-30 to force Nadal to serve for the title.

But the Spaniard was not going to let such an opportunity slip away and secured his first US Open crown when Djokovic hit wide across court.

"I would like first like to congratulate Rafa and his team for an amazing tournament," Djokovic said. "Right now he's the best player in the world and he absolutely deserves this title. Well done again."

US Open - Final men

Pippa Davis / Eurosport

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