Spaniard back on to winning ways.
Rafael Nadal made his first steps into reasserting himself as the top dog in world tennis as he claimed his second US Open title and 13th Grand Slam crown on Monday when he defeated world number one Novak Djokovic, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a final breathless encounter.
The win guarantees both players will be at the 2013 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena London in November, where the top eight seeds, including Andy Murray, will fight it out in the final tournament of the ATP calendar.
One incredible 54-shot rally – the longest in the tournament by 20 shots – summed up the encounter that thrilled the 23,000 spectators in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 27-year-old added the 2013 trophy to his previous triumph back in 2010, when he completed a career Grand Slam, and capped off a year which has now seen him lift 10 titles and extend his winning record for the season to 60 victories and just three defeats.
And after missing last year’s US Open during a seven-month absence with a knee injury, Nadal is now set to regain the number one ranking.
“Having this success is amazing,” he said. “I never expected it. That’s life and I’m lucky to have what I’m having.
“I really love the competition, I really love the sport. All my career I dreamed to be involved in matches like today. I enjoy every moment.
“These things are not forever. In a few years I won’t have this chance. I try my best, I have passion and that’s all I can do.”
It was a predictably electrifying and brutal matchup as the pair met for the 37th time – taking them past the rivalry of John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl to set a new record since the Open era began in 1968.
It was their sixth Grand Slam final together, and third at Flushing Meadows, after Nadal won in 2010 and Djokovic took revenge in 2011.
Monday’s win also earned the Spaniard a total of $3.6 million, which takes his career earnings through the $60 million barrier and also edged him closer to Roger Federer’s record of 17 major titles and within just one of the legendary Pete Sampras.