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King of Clay, now Comeback King - Rafael Nadal extends his reign to hard courts with US Open win

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 - 10:05am IST | Agency: DNA Web Team
The French Open champion added the US Open to claim his second Grand Slam title of the year.
  • AFP

It was a blockbuster US Open final that the fans were expecting as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal clashed. The top two players in men's tennis did not disappoint as they had a titanic battle.

The match was not the five-set epic that they played in recent years but was a 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 encounter that saw a vicious 54 shot rally played by the players.

Rafael Nadal won the title at Flushing Meadows to take his hard court record this year to 22 out of 22, a personal best and the best mark among ATP World Tour players.

Another record that the Spaniard holds now is Nadal, despite his knee troubles, he is the only player to win a Grand Slam title nine years in a row.

Novak Djokovic's World No1 ranking also is not safe as the 27-year-old US and French Open champion who missed out the latter half of 2012 has no points to defend and could finish the year as top seed.

The match on Monday night saw, Nadal hold his nerve and play big as Djokovic kept fluctuating from poor to awesome to spectacular. The World No2 kept his level of play constant and was able to brave the Serb's second and early third set purple streak of play with his own awesome shots.

Watched by Hollywood celebs, the Queen of Spain, tennis legends and other sports stars Nadal and Djokovic gave the crowd what they had come to see a super, high intensity match.

With a total of 13 grand slam wins, Nadal moves ahead of Australian Roy Emerson into third on the all-time list behind Roger Federer (17) and Pete Sampras (14).

After the doubts last year and post his loss at Wimbledon a few months ago many critics had called for Nadal to retire but the tennis ace proved he is not just the King of Clay but also comebacks and now hard court as his win record proves.

As the 2014, Australian Open looms large, Rafa as he is lovingly called by fans will look to win his second title there becoming the first man since Rod Laver to win all Grand Slams twice.

Will he, won't he? If his knees don't give way and he plays the way he did in the US Open and the run up tournaments, there could be no stopping Rafael Nadal who is playing perhaps the best tennis of his career.

See a slideshow on the action from the match.

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