Nadal, Medvedev Locked In Fifth Set For US Open Crown
Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev are headed to a fifth set in the US Open final. The Russian is mounting a stunning comeback after the Spaniard took the first two sets 7-5, 6-3. Medvedev answered back 7-5, 6-4 in the third and fourth.
Another slice of history is in Nadal’s grasp in a Grand Slam final. The 33-year-old is bidding to become the first player to win five major titles after turning 30. He is also targeting a 19th overall crown, which would move him to within one of Roger Federer’s all-time haul.
The three-time US Open champion (2010, 2013, 2017) is on fire this fortnight, dropping just one set and extending his overall win streak to nine straight with a semi-final win over Matteo Berrettini. He is 26-1 in his past five events.
Meanwhile, Medvedev enters his first Grand Slam final on a career-best 12-match win streak. The 23-year-old is not only trying to become the first major singles champion born in the 1990s, but the youngest since Juan Martin del Potro in New York in 2009. He is also the first Russian to reach a Grand Slam final since Marat Safin won the 2005 Australian Open title.
The lone previous encounter between Nadal and Medvedev went the way of the Spaniard in the Montreal final last month. He dominated the championship match for a 6-3, 6-0 victory.
It was his Russian opponent who drew first blood on a warm Sunday afternoon on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Engaging Nadal in long rallies, he outlasted the second seed from the baseline to earn the first break of the match. But, as Nadal made some adjustments as the set wore on, taking pace off his groundstrokes and charging the net (11/14 points won), he broke right back. And he would eventually grab the opener after exactly one hour as Medvedev struck his 20th unforced error.
The World No. 2 is 15-1 in major finals when winning the first set. With legend Rod Laver, actor Michael Douglas and fashion icons Anna Wintour and Ralph Lauren in attendance, Nadal would streak to a two-set lead. Medvedev escaped from a 0/40 hole at 1-2 in the second, saving four break points, but Nadal would finally edge ahead two games later. With his punishing groundstrokes taking a collective toll, he sprinted to a 6-3 set as a Medvedev forehand sailed long.
It was much of the same as the third set got underway, with Nadal breaking for 3-2 behind a barrage of penetrating forehands. But as quickly as the Spaniard seized what appeared to be the decisive lead, Medvedev answered in kind. The change in momentum was swift, as the Russian broke right back and fought off two more break points in the 10th game. A sudden injection of pace and aggression in his forehand saw him force a fourth set out of nowhere. His 18th winner of the set extended proceedings.
Medvedev continued to mount the stunning comeback as the championship clash entered a fourth set. Increasing his aggression by stepping into the court and blasting away on both wings, as well as effectively serve-and-volleying, the fifth seed eventually forced a fifth set. The crowd erupted as he snuck a return winner past Nadal on set point.
Nadal is 21-12 in career five-set matches, while Medvedev is 0-4.