NEW YORK—Rafael Nadal overcame a sizzling hot Daniil Medvedev, 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 to win the US Open on Sunday. The world No. 2 was up a break in third set before Medvedev found another gear to win a set. Still, despite the tension, Nadal has a 206-1 record at Slams after winning the first set and Medvedev has never won a five-set match.
Nadal was in tears after finally putting away the world No. 5 and watching a video of his 19 major victories.
"Yeah, at the end with the video, the crowd that have been as always amazing, all these facts that make the moment super special, no?" Nadal said, "Unforgettable moment."
The win is his 19th Grand Slam and first non-clay major since winning the 2017 US Open. Now he’s just one away from Roger Federer and three ahead of Novak Djokovic. It’s his fourth US Open crown, having won his first in 2010, and he improves to a 65-11 record in New York.
"I always say the same: I would love to be the one who win more, but I am not thinking and I not going to practice every day or not playing tennis for it," he said "I am playing tennis because I love to play tennis."
It was his second time facing Medvedev, having dispatched the 23-year-old Russian in the Montreal final, 6-3, 6-0. Medvedev was playing his first-ever major final with his previous best Slam result being the fourth round in Melbourne earlier this season. He was the second player this fortnight to win a set off the world No. 2 and the first to push Nadal to a deciding set.
Celebrities were everywhere during Sunday's final including Uma Thurman, Alexander Skarsgard, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Lindsay Vonn and Rod Laver, who was celebrating the 50th anniversary of his second calendar-year Grand Slam.
Since 2006, 54 of the 56 major finals have included one of the Big Three. The only exceptions include the 2014 US Open (Marin Cilic def. Kei Nishikori) and 2016 Wimbledon (Andy Murray def. Milos Raonic) finals.
Despite the win, Nadal will remain at No. 2 in the rankings. He’s closed the gap with Djokovic to 640 points. Medvedev moves up to a career-high of No. 4.
"Just very happy. This trophy means everything to me today," Nadal said. "Personal satisfaction the way that I resisted all these tough moments is very high. Just I normally try to hold the emotions, but at the end for all these facts have been impossible today."