With his second U.S. Open title, Rafael Nadal moved one shy of Pete Sampras’s 14 career Grand Slam titles and just four behind Roger Federer’s all-time mark of 17.
Nadal bested top-seeded Novak Djokovic inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night in four sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, to close out the 2013 U.S. Open.
“You play one match against one of the best players in history on probably his favorite surface, so I have to be almost perfect to win,” said Nadal.
Nadal was dominant in the first set, but Djokovic started to find his game in the second. He broke Nadal’s serve twice – Nadal only had his serve broken once in his previous six matches – and his shots found their range.
Things turned in the third set. It was tied at four each when Djokovic was up triple break point, but Nadal fought his way back to deuce and eventually took the game. Djokovic got up 30-o in the next game, but Nadal scored four straight point and never looked back until he was hoisting the trophy.
“It was disappointing that I dropped the third set, even though I felt like, especially in the first four or five games, that I was the one dictating the play,” said Djokovic. I made some unforced errors in crucial moments, next thing you know it’s two set to one for him.”