In a final that had pretty much everything, Rafael Nadal turned back the challenge of the dazzling young Russian, Daniil Medvedev, in five sets here on Sunday night to win his fourth US Open and edge to within one slam of Roger Federer’s collection of 20.
But what a struggle it was. Medvedev, in his first grand slam final and not having won a five-setter in four attempts, announced his arrival with a performance of the highest daring; Nadal, the king of long-haul tennis, sent the message that, at 33, there is life in his legs and his heart yet.
So, the Spaniard remains on schedule to pass his ageing Swiss friend after a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 win against the fifth seed over four hours and 50 minutes – the longest match of the fortnight - on a warm evening in front of 24,000 bedazzled fans in the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
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