The Runner Sports

Rafael Nadal Wins US Open, 16th Grand Slam Title

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal took on No. 32 Kevin Anderson in the US Open men’s final, Sunday afternoon. Seeded higher at No. 28 for the tournament due to some withdrawals, Anderson had never been beyond the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam before. At age 31, Anderson has been on tour for more than a decade, but this was his first ever Grand Slam final. Anderson was trying to become the first South African Grand Slam champion since 1982. Nadal is regarded as one of the best players to ever pick up the racquet; he was playing in his 22nd Grand Slam final, and has won 15 of those.

The South African’s big serve was working, and his groundstrokes had the depth and power like in his semifinal match. Anderson did not do anything particularly wrong, Nadal just played better. Nadal’s style of play can be grueling. Not only can he run down almost every ball, he can also take the offense as well. Nadal used the tactic of staying far back on Anderson’s serve to give him as much time as possible to return it back in play. Two breaks of serve in the first set and one break in the second were all Nadal needed to go up two sets to none. Nadal played the important points better, but he has been in this situation many times. Nadal broke Anderson in the first game of the third set and never looked back. Every game after that went on serve until Nadal found himself at championship point. After 2 hours and 27 minutes, Nadal would win his 16th Grand Slam title with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Anderson.

While Nadal keeps building up his resume for the Hall of Fame, what an incredible tournament for Anderson. Ending the drought of a South African finalist at a Grand Slam should be a well-regarded achievement. It speaks on how far passion can take and keep you going. Nadal just did not give an inch in a match he was supposed to win. With the season not over yet, the ATP World Tour Finals is the next destination.

Conrad Ellis

Conrad Ellis

Stevenson University graduate, class of 2016
Played tennis for 14 years and counting, favorite shot is forehand
Conrad Ellis