Spaniard World number 1 Rafael Nadal asserted his class on the big stage yet again with yet another masterclass display. Nadal the overwhelming favourite raced to his third US Open title and 16th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 rout of South African giant Kevin Anderson.
The last time Rafa won in New York in was in 2010 and 2013, he thuss added the US title to the record 10th French Open he captured in June.
According to report by AFP, arch- rival Roger Federer won the season’s other two Slams at the Australian Open, beating Nadal in the final, and Wimbledon in an illustration of the two Grand Slam greats’ enduring appeal and power.
Nadal’s Grand Slam tally is just three behind Federer’s record 19.
The 2017 Grand Slam Men’s Singles Champions
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For Nadal, it was his fifth title of the year and 74th of his career while the $3.7 million winner’s prize boosted his earnings to a shade under $90 million.
“It’s a very special two weeks for me. It’s unbelievable what’s happened this year after some seasons with serious injuries and not playing very well,” said Nadal.
“It’s been an emotional year since the Australian Open. I played a high level of tennis and winning here in New York again it’s unbelievable.”
Nadal also praised his coach and uncle Toni who has coached him since he was three but who will step down from his team at the end of the year.
“I cannot thank him enough,” said the champion.
“Without him, I would not be here playing tennis. He gave me strength and motivation. When I had injury problems I got through them because of him.”
‘It was an honour’
On the big day, on the big stage, the champions show you how to win. Another for @RafaelNadal
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It was a desperately disappointing afternoon for Anderson, the World No 32 playing in his first Slam final at the 34th attempt.
He was the first South African in a US championship final since Cliff Drysdale in 1965 and was bidding to become his country’s first Slam champion since Johan Kriek at the 1981 Australian Open.
The Johannesburg-born, Florida-based Anderson finished the 2hr 28min final with 40 unforced errors to Nadal’s 11, failing even to carve out a single break point.
Nadal, winning his first hardcourt title since January 2014 in Doha, gave up just 15 points on his serve and won 16 out of 16 net points.
“Rafa, we are the same age but I have looked up to you all of my life,” said Anderson.
“It was an honour playing you. You are one of the great ambassadors of our sport.”
In a final guaranteed to result in the fifth Slam champion in succession who is 30 or older, Nadal was on top from the start.
He had 28th-seeded Anderson scrambling to save two break points in the third and fifth games before the Spaniard converted his fifth off a forehand error for a 4-3 lead.
The World No 1 held and broke again, cleverly forcing the 31-year-old South African out of position on set point after 58 minutes of action.
By the end of the opening set, Nadal had just five unforced errors to Anderson’s 23 with the South African unable to muster a single break point.
The one-way traffic continued in the second set as Nadal broke for 4-2 off the back of three successive volleys.
Anderson even collected a time violation for his troubles as his efforts to compose himself failed horribly.
A brutal cross-court forehand winner gave Nadal the second set 6-3.
Anderson was broken again in the opening game of the third set.
It was his fourth loss of serve in the final; before Sunday, he had been broken just five times in the entire tournament.
Anderson called the trainer for a bloodied right index finger after the fifth game, but his struggles continued.
He saved a match point but Nadal wrapped it up with a clinical backhand volley.