Men’s Championship Match:  Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs.  Daniil Medvedev (RUS)
It was Nadal’s for the taking with his two major threats gone from the tournament and it looked as if the Spaniard would cruise easily to his nineteenth major title after he took a two-set lead and went up a break in the third set. Medvedev looked just about done in; yet, somehow the Russian player managed to tap into his seemingly unlimited reserves to break Nadal twice in the third set to win the set and force a fourth set.
Nadal Felt The Pressure
Surely, Nadal would regroup and wrap things up in the fourth set. Yet, the crowd desperate for more tennis began cheering for the indomitable fighting spirit of the feisty Russian and he responded. Medvedev started to out play Nadal, doing what the Spaniard has done so many times to his opponents; he had the Spaniard running from side-to-side to win his points. Suddenly, the Russian looked the fresher and more composed player on the court as Nadal got more anxious with each passing second.
Medvedev Would Not Quit
The steely fighting spirit of the Russian was pitted against the passionate fighting nature of the Spaniard. Perhaps if Medvedev was not slightly injured and exhausted from all the matches he had already played this season he may have done the unthinkable. His belief that he could hang with one of the greatest competitors in tennis was apparent and despite his ailments, he was physically there with Nadal. Nadal fans begun to worry once the match got to the fifth set. No longer was this as exciting despite the high quality of tennis from both players. Sure, they had wanted an exciting match, but the thought of Nadal losing in the fifth set began to take a toll on his fans and his team.
Fatigue Caught Up To Medvedev
Fatigue finally caught up to the Russian in the fifth set and it manifested mentally when his focus dipped just enough to give Nadal some hope that he could come out of this battle with the victory. Serving at 2-2 and 40-0 up, Medvedev made a slew of errors to lose his serve and gave Nadal his first break since the third set. Nadal would break again in the next service game of the Russian to go up 5-2 in the fifth set. The tension begun to diminish for the Nadal team and fans, surely Medvedev could not come back from this final insult. However, everyone underestimated the effects of pressure on Nadal and the determination of the young Russian.
Nadal Narrowly Escapes
Nadal had his third time violation at a critical point in the fifth set (serving for the match at 5-2) and Nadal was penalized a first serve and he missed his second serve long, giving Medvedev a lifeline. The tension instantly returned, and everyone was on the edge of their seats eager on one level to see the Russian make a miraculous comeback; yet, wanting Nadal to finally conquer his nerves and win the match. Nadal at some points in the fifth set appeared to be suffering from cramps, but he was equally determined not to suffer a second loss in his career after leading two sets at the US Open. Yet, at 3-5 down and two championship points against him, the Russian still would not give up. It was a battle to the end and Nadal’s will to win got him the 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory and his nineteenth major title.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (Getty Images North America)