US Open | Rafael Nadal defeats Kevin Anderson to lift men’s title

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US Open | Rafael Nadal defeats Kevin Anderson to lift men’s title

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SportsCafe Desk

09/11/2017

The final held no such surprise that the previous rounds had promised as tournament favorite Rafael Nadal cruised to a one-sided victory over Kevin Anderson to lift his third US open title. This Spaniard’s 16th Grand Slam title means that he is only three behind Roger Federer's tally of 19 titles.

Things are finally looking up for the Spanish ace after enduring terrible seasons in 2014 and 2015 where he had to go trophy less. Rafael Nadal had entered 2017 on a two and half year trophy drought with many doubting if he would return to the same level at all.

The Spaniard claimed his second Grand Slam in the same year for the first time since 2013 with an easy 6-3 6-3 6-4 win over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson at Flushing Meadows.

“It's just unbelievable what happened this year. After a couple of years with some troubles, injuries, sometimes playing not good - since the beginning of the season it has been very, very emotional," said Nadal.

In all honesty, with Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka withdrawing from the tournament and Roger Federer not crossing paths with him, Juan Martin Del Potro had remained his only threat. Overcoming the Argentine in the semi-final meant Nadal would just need to keep his composure and the title was his.

And he did just that. Nadal was playing his 23 Grand Slam final and his movements reflected it. He lost just 15 points on serve throughout the entire match and did not face a break point. He also won all the 16 points he finished at the net.

At 6ft and 8 inches, Anderson was the tallest player to ever feature in a Grand Slam final and was overly relying on serves having hit an incredible 114 aces in the build up to the final. But, the 2012 and 2013 champion remained unmoved by it as he stood a good five meters behind the baseline to get a better read of his powerful serve. And when Anderson got a mid-court ball to attack, Nadal rarely failed to miss it.

Anderson won 10 aces throughout the match compared to Rafael Nadal’s one, but that was it. The Spanish ace excelled in every other department and his tremendous work rate with precision hardly gave time to Anderson to recuperate. Nadal got the battle of first serves right on target, winning 63% of them compared to Anderson’s 59%, where the South African could have really made a difference.

Anderson’s 32 unforced errors in the game was reflecting the immense pressure he was under, playing the first Grand Slam final of his career, which made things easier for Nadal. The World Number 1 looked ruthless in his approach winning 102 points, making just 11 unforced errors and getting 100% of his net points.

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