Rafael Nadal overwhelmed his South African opponent Kevin Anderson to win his third US Open singles title at Flushing Meadows. He has confirmed his place at the top of the world rankings.
Rafael Nadal served and volleyed on match point in an almost-perfect performance to take his third US Open victory in New York on Sunday.
Nadal won all 16 of his approaches to the net while his South African opponent Kevin Anderson could only manage 16 of 34.
The 31-year-old Spaniard won the title 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours 27 minutes. The first set lasted 58 minutes, the second 39 minutes and the third 50 minutes.
“I want to thank everyone for supporting me,” Nadal said as he accepted the trophy and also thanked life: “I can just say thank you very much to life for that opportunity,” he said.
It was his sixteenth career Grand Slam win and brought him prize money of $3.7 million (3.07 million euros.)
Nadal also paid tribute to his family and his team. His uncle Toni will stop travelling with him from next year: “I can’t thank him enough for all the things he did for me,” Nadal said. “Without him, I would never be playing tennis.”
He also spoke for the victims and all the people who were suffering from the earthquake in Mexico and the hurricanes in the Caribbean in Florida.
Anderson failed to capitalize on opportunities and made too many unforced errors to put any pressure on the Spanish champion. During the match, he made 40 unforced errors, nearly four times more than Nadal who made just 11.
At 32, Anderson was the lowest-ranked US Open men’s finalist since the ATP computer rankings began in 1973.
Nadal is now just three grand slams behind long-time rival Roger Federer, who leads the all-time list with 19.
Too much to resist
Playing in his first grand slam final, the 31-year-old South African tried to resist Nadal – who won fifteen of the 22 finals he had played ahead of Sunday’s match with his previous US Open win in 2013. While the two men had played matches in their junior years, their careers had taken very separate paths, with Anderson playing the college circuit in the US while Nadal won his first major title as a teenager.
“At the moment Rafael is better than the opponent,” his uncle Toni told ESPN television during the match. After the match, commentator Matt Cronin said “he’s spectacular.”
Known for a huge serve, the 6 foot 8 inch (2.03 meter) Anderson did hit 10 aces to Nadal’s one but only took 36 percent of points on his second serve while Nadal did not even face a break point on his serve.
Speaking after the match, Anderson congratulated Nadal but said he was pleased with his progress into the final, especially coming off an injury last year. “I’m just really pleased how everything turned out these two weeks,” he said. “This isn’t the result I wanted but I’ll keep fighting and I’ll be back.”
Former winners Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray did not play because of injuries and Roger Federer was beaten by Juan Martin del Potro in the quarterfinals. Nadal then beat del Potro, who had won in 2009.
Earlier, Martina Hingis claimed her 25th grand slam title when she and Yung-Jan Chan won the women’s doubles.