XtraTime Web Desk: The 19th Grand Slam title that seemed so inevitable for Rafael Nadal during the first two-plus sets of the US Open final suddenly seemed in doubt as Daniil Medvedev forced it to a fifth.
What had all the makings of a crowning morphed into a real contest thanks to Medvedev, a man a decade younger and appearing in his first major final. Medvedev shifted styles, upped his level and received an unexpected boost from Arthur Ashe Stadium spectators.
Truly tested for the only time in the tournament, the No. 2-seeded Nadal managed to stop Medvedev’s surge and hold off his historic comeback bid, pulling out a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory in 4 hours, 50 minutes of highlight-worthy action and feature-film-worthy drama on Sunday, collecting his fourth championship at Flushing Meadows.
Nadal is now within one major trophy of Roger Federer’s record for Grand Slam titles won by a man. But this one did not come easily. Not at all.
Sure seemed it might, with Nadal ahead by two sets and a break in the third at 3-2. But the No. 5-seeded Medvedev, a 23-year-old from Russia, did not go gently into the night. He broke right back to 3-all, then again to claim that set and yet again to end the fourth.