ATP Tennis: Nadal Defeats Djokovic to Win Second U.S. Open Championship

September 19, 2013

The U.S. Open Men’s Singles Championship match last Monday night between (1)Novak Djokovic and (2)Raphael Nadal ended with Nadal winning his second U.S. Open Championship as well as his second major tournament of 2013. It took Nadal four sets to take out the world’s top-ranked player (6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1) in a finals match in which Djokovic took only a single game in the final set. The match seemed like it could go either way until the end of the third set when Novak Djokovic began to show signs of wearing down. As the fourth set progressed it was clear Djokovic could do nothing to stop Raphael Nadal from taking his 13th career Grand Slam title.

This came as no surprise as Djokovic has lost 3 out of his last 4 matches with Nadal, and he struggled in the semifinals against (9)Stanislas Wawrinka, a match in which Wawrinka scored 6 points in each of the first three sets. Nadal, on the other hand, looked very good on Saturday against (8)Richard Gasquet. In both rounds, Nadal played with a level of intensity that neither opponent seemed to be able to match. He was no doubt trying to avenge his first round lost in this summer’s Wimbledon Championship, which saw Djokovic lose in the final round of the tournament at the hands of Britain’s own (3)Andy Murray. The fact that Djokovic was the man who defeated Nadal in the finals of the 2011 U.S. Open in a four set match was likely on his mind as well.

The big story of the match was the epic rallies that took place in the first three sets. Several rallies took over 25 shots before a point was awarded, including a 54 shot rally that lasted over a minute and a half.

Wimbledon aside, Nadal is having a great year. He is currently ranked number two in the world with a record of 60-3. He has won 10 singles titles in 2013, and with his win on Monday he closes the gap in the ATP point total that separates him from Novak Djokovic. Nadal is playing better than he has ever played before, and if he continues to play with the same focus and intensity that he played with during the U.S. Open, he will no doubt surpass Djokovic in the ATP point total by the end of the year. This win also raises Nadal’s Grand Slam title count to 13, which is only 4 major wins behind all-time leader (6)Roger Federer who has won 17 major championships.

One thing is for sure, the rivalry between Nadal and Djokovic, of which Nadal has won 22 of their 37 matches, is far from over. These two players are clearly the two best male tennis players in the world. Murray and (4)David Ferrer are well behind them both in the ATP point total. These two men have been battling it out for years and with no other conceivable contenders, the best tennis player in the world will either be Novak Djokovic or Raphael Nadal for the foreseeable future. Which one it will be is up to each of them to decide.

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