Third time is a charm: Nadal triumphs again at U.S. Open

Seven years ago, the U.S. Open was the final piece of the puzzle that Rafael Nadal needed to complete the career Grand Slam. Some wondered if he would ever do it. Once at most, right? Maybe two if lucky?

How about three?

Nadal triumphed in New York for the third time on Sunday, lifting the trophy once again thanks to a commanding 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kevin Anderson. The Spaniard did not face a single break point while rolling to his 16th slam title in two hours and 27 minutes. Nadal used unusually effective and deep returns to break Anderson four times and he almost kept up with the 6’8” South African in the department of winners (32 to 30 in Anderson’s favor). The top seed also committed a mere 11 unforced errors, whereas 40 mistakes came off the world No. 32’s racket.


“(It has) been a great two weeks,” Nadal reflected, “increasing (my) level of tennis, increasing [in] confidence during that two weeks. I have this trophy with me again here in New York; means a lot to me. There is no better way to finish the Grand Slam season for me after a very emotional season in all aspects.

“(I’m) 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.”

Nadal’s only real trouble throughout the duration of the fortnight came in the form of slow starts in week one–most notably against Taro Daniel and Leonardo Mayer. He also surrendered the first set to Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinals, although that was less surprising.

But there was no such struggle in the championship match. Nadal stormed out of the gates in blistering fashion, pushing Anderson to deuce in all five of his first-set return games while managing to break at 3-3 and 5-3. A break at 3-2 in the second and another one to begin the third were easily enough for Nadal to soar across the finish line.

“I think I played the right match,” the champion explained. “I put a lot of balls in. I let him play all the time, and that was my goal–to try to have long rallies, to try to have long points, because he will try to play short (ones). If the ball is going over the net couple of times helps, because he gets more tired. He’s taller. His movements are a little bit worse than my ones. That was the goal for me, to take advantage and try to move him.”

If Nadal had an edge in movement, he enjoyed an ever more significant advantage in experience. It was his 23rd major final, whereas Anderson was competing in his first. The underdog had previously advanced to just one Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“Obviously (I’m) very pleased of making my way through to the finals and having that experience,” Anderson commented. “(Only) a few players get that chance. It’s very tough. To step out on court against Rafa, I learned a lot of lessons. It was a difficult match, up against somebody who has been on that stage over 20 times before.”

From the looks of things, make that 23 times and counting.

42 Comments on Third time is a charm: Nadal triumphs again at U.S. Open

  1. I Keep thinking if Rafa had closed out the AO at the begining of the year, Federer would have 18, Rafa 17, and 1 GS would be all that wouldve seperated the two of them hmm, imagine the conversation we would all be having now lol 🙂

    • I’ve thought about that, too, Alison! Even further, think about the possibility that if Fed hadn’t won AO, could he possibly have not gone into the Sunshine Double with the confidence he had and maybe not won them? Then could it have caused him to go into the grass season with a lack of confidence and maybe even affected him there? Then it would be tied at 17 a piece. It really doesn’t matter at all because, to me anyway, what has happened thus far in tennis was meant to happen, or else it wouldn’t have happened. But it’s still really amazing to think about these turning points in seasons and careers just for fun. 🙂 It really does feel now like so much could have depended on that AO final…

  2. Roger Federer will win 2 or 3 GS b4 he retires, 4 is a possibility but will be hard.

    No current tennis player will surpass R. Federer’s record, they might tie it but won’t pass it.

    Roger Federer is the BEST!

    • That could very well be, Stanley. If I were you, however, I wouldn’t be too overconfident about it because there is statistically a good possibility that an active player will end up passing him. I have no dog in this fight, but the truth is that nobody in the world, not even Roger/Rafa/Novak, has any idea how many major titles any of them will end their careers with. So by all means, keep your wishful thinking! But you would be saving yourself potential disappointment by accepting the reality that you truly don’t know. Personally, I would love it if Fed, Rafa, and Novak EACH end their careers with exactly 20 majors, as that would hopefully force everyone to accept that these guys equally great in their own respective right. 🙂

      • R. Federer is the best tennis player this year, ( i know the year ain’t over) and one of the best(i think he is the best) tennis player ever.

        For Roger Federer to win 2 or 3 more GS before he retires is a piece of cake, the tournaments next year won’t be easy, this year wasn’t but he made it look easy that’s what Roger Federer does.

        I said RFwill win 2 or 3 GS just to sound humble but if RF means business he could win 4 or 5 GS b4 he signs off.

        No current player will surpass his record especially R. Nadal.

  3. WtA Experts,

    Jana Fett vs Jana Cepelova Who wins? Lean Fett Better form

    Sara Sorribes Tormo vs Christina Mchale Who wins? Lean Mchale

    Both matches seem to be close.

    Like the over here and going with it.

    What you think experts?

  4. No i won’t close my eyes i can’t sleep and i am watching a movie, bad recipe.

    Jana Cepelova & Christina Mchale to win but i am not sure of J. Cepelova but she should win, she reached the semis last year.

    Christina Mchale is the defeanding champion, Hurrah!

    • Stanley, I have no idea if Rafa will tie or even surpass Fed’s slam haul. It’s a tall order. But how can you say that a student can never surpass his master?? There are many examples in many different areas where the student became better than the master. That said, I would even debate if Roger and Rafa have a student/master relationship. Being able to beat Roger wad and still is a powerful. motivation for Rafa, but he never tried to emulate Roger’s style. He developed his own style.

  5. Kevin agree its all just a bit of fun, theres no harm or foul discussing such things, personally i dont believe either are done, and it will be interesting to see how Novak fairs when he returns to the tour, Andy and Stan too, i doubt Andy and Stan will reach the heights of Roger, Rafa and Novak, but i think they could get to Becker, Edberg status with 6 GS a piece which is doable, Andy is great at all GS i would think barring the French, and the same with Stan at Wimbledon ….

  6. Alison how are you doing?
    Littlefoot i like your comment a Little lol!

    I like R. Federer a lot and he is not Rafito’s master, i was kidding.
    To be honest with U if R. Nadal plays until he is 36 or more just like Federer, then there is a real possibility that he can tie or surpass RF’s record if he continues to play well(it’s not a tall order) and IF RF doesn’t add to this GS or retires soon.

    I know that R. Federer will win more GS’s but i don’t see playing professional tennis in 2020 that’s sad and painful cos he is THE or one of the best tennis players that ever played the game.

    Next year will be tough if injured players return to full fitness.
    A. Murray & S. Wawrinka will never surpass RF record except if everyone goes crazy and no one will.

    A. Zverev & N. Djokovic are my favourite too and they both have bright futures.

    Is the next ATP tournament Metz & St. Petersburg?

  7. Stanley 🙂
    To be honest, I also wouldn’t be surprised if Roger and Rafa don’t win slams anymore. Both played great this year. But they also profited from the doldrums of Novak/Andy/Wawa and the unreliability of the young guns. I don’t expect this situation to continue for long. If I would bet,though, I would bet that Rafa wins one more RG crown, if he stays healthy.

    • Rafa can win some more FO, as long as he’s fit and healthy! The way he’s playing on clay, not many can beat him! As long as Moya is there to remind Rafa that he has to play with aggression, Rafa can win the FO again!

      About the other slams, I can’t say much for Rafa; it depends on him and the field.

  8. Luckystar said this in page 1 ” If Delpo can beat Fed, I don’t see why Rafa couldn’t!” lol!!! Lol!!!

    That’s not how it works, DELPO defeating R. Federer is a blessing in disguise.
    Rafito had 3 opportunities this year but lost them all, 2 finals, 1 Grand Slam, 2 Masters and 2 of those loses were brutal in less than 3 months.

    If R. Nadal meets R. Federer again i am sorry in advance but i hope they meet again cos it will be fun.

    R. Federer is the best tennis player this year.

    • Stanley, the Fed at USO wasn’t the Fed at AO or Miami!! Those who have eyes could see that easily, only a blinded Fed fan couldn’t! Simple as that! I doubt Delpo could beat a Fed playing at AO or IW/Miami level!

          • @Luckystar

            Lol! I am not wondering, i know you are BLIND!
            You need help ASAP cos those who are blinded by defeats & jealousy are pitiful and i feel sorry 4 U.

            Plzzz seek professional HELP! Or U can stop being silly and grow up, that’s my advice to you, i will check back later to monitor your progress lol!

            No Fingers Crossed.

            • Hey Stanley, don’t get personal. You may believe want, and you may be right – but it’s not very likely. Roger was handicapped to a certain degree and the US Open surface was way slower than all three hardcourt surfaces where he beat Rafa this year. All the advantages were on Rafa’s side. Fed himself and most of his regular fans knew this. And for this reason many expressed the opinion that it was a blessing in disguise for Roger that he lost to Delpo.
              I do hope they will meet again in the fall season – although maybe not in Basel which is Roger’s home turf, lol!

            • Littlefoot i agree with some of the things you have said but i disagree some passionately.

              The personal statement should be directed to the right person not me.

              I am a little busy Littlefoot so will talk later.

            • Stanley, feeling agitated already?

              You can think what you like, it won’t affect my opinion about how Fed played at the USO. Fed was just so beatable at the USO, clearly not playing at a high level, hence he was beaten in the QF.

            • Luckystar, there are some truths in your statement but that doesn’t equal an automatic victory 4 Rafito.

              Those who disagree are not blind, please be careful with your words.

            • Don’t take it personally! There are really some Fed fans who think that no matter how poorly Fed played, just because he had beaten Rafa thrice this year, he would still beat Rafa no matter how well Rafa played.

              I’m just basing on how they both played at the USO to form my opinion! Rafa always had his way with Fed; Fed had to play his absolute best to barely edge out Rafa at the AO in five sets; can’t see him beating Rafa at the USO when Rafa was in that mode and mood; it’s a BO5, not a BO3, unlike IW and Miami.

      • Don’t worry, Lucky, even those of us who aren’t Rafa-only-fans know you are not the blind one here. 🙂 The fanatics like Stanley aren’t even capable of seeing what’s right in front of them. It’s an annoying, unfortunate reality.

    • I actually came here to share this article! This is some REAL analysis. The economist team uses a software called Elo to do some serious number crunching. This is so interesting! Of course there are some limitations to the methodology but it does make the comparison more direct. I am also glad the methodology uplifted Djokovic’s slam tally coz he also had to work really hard.

    • I think it’s a great and important article! I just personally believe it doesn’t prove that Rafa is “better” than Federer, just that Federer should not be considered “better” than Rafa or Novak.

      • Amen to that! They’ve all had wonderful, amazing careers. If there IS a “best” the difference is so slight it’s not worth worrying over imo. And, as you say, they are not done yet. As Rafa is prone to say “I never dreamed this!” Sure, when he was a kid he dreamed of winning Wimbledon. But the way he did it in 2008 in the “greatest match ever”? He knew he was good on clay, but La Decima in MC, Barcelona and RG? Winning three times at the USO? He had never thought he win there when he was young, but he was playing well in 2010 – time to give it a real shot. I still remember McEnroe’s reaction when he asked Rafa about his vastly improved serve “YOU CHANGED YOUR SERVICE MOTION THREE DAYS BEFORE THE USO?!?!?” Rafa: “I couldn’t win with the serve I had”. He was either going to win or crash out early.

        • Haha, yes Ramara! I actually just happened to stumble upon the video of that interview for the first time last night! What a coincidence!

      • Actually, I think the point of the article is to challenge people to give Rafa more credit as a complete tennis player than he has been given before. That tag has previously been applied to Fed and Novak, rightly so, but never to Rafa.

        I doubt the article is going to change a lot of minds. A lot of people’s opinions on the matter tend to be based on emotion rather than cold calculus.

        I am really hoping the Big 4 will be at Melbourne Park, healthy, and the young guns start showing up so we have real competition in 2018.

        • You’re exactly right, RIBT. People have so much insecurity about their guy not being considered as “great” as the other guy(s), which is a testament to how loved they are. I wish that the media would start speaking of the Big 3 like they are equally great, instead of spreading this notion that one of them could possibly be considered definitively “greater” than the other two. It would be just be so much better off. But I guess that by spreading a narrative that causes friction and insecurity between the fans of each guy, they must think that it will help ratings. I understand that tennis can always use a boost in popularity, particularly in the United States, but they can grow interest in professional tennis without being controversial and dividing people. Maybe I’m just naive on that one? The truth is that for every reason someone gives for why any one of them is “greater” than the other two, we can give an equally valid reason for why that guy actually is NOT “greater” than the other two. But part of the problem is that many people falsely think that saying that Federer is not “greater” than Rafa or Novak automatically mean that he is “not as great as” Rafa and Novak. Since I just can’t possibly see how an objective argument can be made that any of them is “greater” than the other, because there are endless counter-arguments for each of them, it just seems so pointless to fight over who is greater. What does Greater even mean haha? Sure, we can break down the million different aspects of the game and maybe conclude which guy is better at the different aspects, but how do we possibly measure just generalized “greatness”?? Certainly not only overall slam tally. Certainly not only overall head-to-heads. Certainly not only competition level. There’s just too many variables and arguments when all three of them have reached such high levels of excellence…

          • @Kevin, I actually do not have a problem with fans of different players “bigging” up their favourite, that’s why they are called fanatics, right? My problem is with journalists and people who call themselves objective analysts/experts on the sport behaving like fanatics but basically showing bias towards one player. One such who comes to mind is Peter Bodo. I wish such journos would include the disclosure of who their fav is in their by-line. Now, that would be transparency and it would make it easier to take their opinions seriously.

            When I post an opinion, it is clear I am writing as a Rafan, I think the same standards should apply to these so-called objective journos.

        • Great point. Honestly, if a tennis fan believes any of the big four aren’t complete players, that is not a real tennis fan. Each of the big three have wins on every surface at every slam so I don’t know how people can say things like “Rafa is a clay courter only” and rubbish like that.

    • Yeah uh that’s a matter of opinion. Sorry but I catch a bit of a trolling vibe there. At least it should be considered trolling considering Stanley saying Roger is the best is always considered a troll. Also one article doesn’t prove whether someone is a better player than another. Tennis isn’t all about these random stats brought up in the article. Here’s a stat: 19 to 16. Another thing is how little Roger has lost early at slams compared to Rafa over the years. But I’m not declaring Fed as the best because of that. Besides, it’s a foolish argument anyways.

  9. @Littlefoot,

    i think R. Nadal can win two more French Open(Roland Garros) b4 he retires, he might not win it consecutively but he can win it if he stays healthy and keeps playing amazing cos he is playing well.

    I wish Rafa the best but R. Federer the bestest lol!
    Talk to you later.

    One more thing, Littlefoot are you a man or woman?
    Your name doesn’t give away your gender and U don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.

    • Kevin, i can say this without feeling that i am being too harsh or going too far because you and i have discussed subjects(in the non tennis forum) IMO that are far more important than tennis and i know for a fact that you don’t reason sanely.

      Your comments in the past are not just preposterous the are deceptively wicked and you lack wisdom & righteous judgment when it comes to real issues, i know that you are a useless FOOL, a useful idiot and your comments today are absurd & i am not surprised.

      An average sport lover knows that if a favourite or a good team/player loses to an underdog it doesn’t equal an automatic victory for his next opponent or rival.
      Just because R. Federer lost to DELPO does not equal an automatic victory 4 R. Nadal if they had met, this statement is not based from a blind perspective but an honest one.
      I can list many examples but i know it will be a waste of my time.

      R. Federer is not my #1 but he is one of my favourites and he is an Incredible tennis player, he is one of the best, i would say he is THE BEST and the best player this year(i know the year ain’t over).

      It is not an impossibility that if R. Federer had met Rafito in the US OPEN RF would have lost but it is wrong if you are not joking or exercising a fans passion to say or agree that because he lost DELPO that means he will lose to R. Nadal, it doesn’t work that way.

      I have predicted in the past that R. Federer will win a match or a tournament and he lost it, i was simply being a fan and not a guaranteeing that my prediction was an automatic certainty.

      I don’t like this type of conversation because the are not productive most times, if you carefully read the origin of this conversation it should make sense and not require long arguments.

        • I am trying to be kind but that comment lacks wisdom, i believe you have read all the comments on page 2 or most of them and you came to the final conclusion that it is Stanley that U need 2 give an advice to lol! Well thanks 4 the advice.

          When i made that comment it was not rooted in anger but based on past & current conversation with Kevin(i can say a lot about this but this is not the right time or page).

          I don’t want to prolong this comment or conversation because conversations like this are futile most times and this is a new day.

          Please next time when you are making a judgment or giving an advice do it with clarity.

Comments are closed.

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