Rafael Nadal survived.
The 33-year-old defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final of the 2019 U.S. Open to earn his 19th Grand Slam title Sunday in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Nadal appeared to be in cruise control after winning the first two sets. Then Medvedev turned the tables and won the next two to push the match to a decisive fifth set. In total, the match needed four hours, 49 minutes to determine a victor.
US Open Tennis @usopen
5 sets in nearly 5 hours…
An EPIC way to win your 4th title in Flushing Meadows!
🙌 @rafaelnadal 🙌
Now, Nadal only needs one more Grand Slam championship to tie Roger Federer for the most ever by a men’s singles player. Whereas Federer once felt a class above in the discussion of the greatest male player in tennis history, Nadal might ultimately move ahead.
Robin Lundberg @robinlundberg
If Nadal maintains the head to head advantage and catches Federer overall, what’s the argument Federer is better?
Nadal has 19 majors. Federer has 20. After the French, Nadal could be at 20. Nadal has a winning record against Federer head to head (24-16). If Nadal’s resume is better than Federer’s then isn’t Nadal… the greatest male tennis player of all time???
He’s obviously no stranger to this setting, yet his reaction during his post-match victory ceremony spoke volumes about how much the result meant.
Rafa Nadal got emotional after winning his 19th Grand Slam.
The French Open is the major tournament most synonymous with the Spaniard because he has lifted the winner’s trophy 12 times at Roland-Garros. After Sunday, he’s a four-time U.S. Open champion, an achievement that shouldn’t go overlooked.
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
After it was the last Grand Slam he conquered, and after all the complaining he’s done about hard courts, Nadal has improbably become the best #USOpen player of the decade, winning four titles here between 2010 and 2019.
Nadal – 4
Djokovic, Serena – 3
Federer – 0
ATP Tour @ATP_Tour
Super Rafa 🍄🏆
🎥: @usopen | @RafaelNadal | #USOpen
It won’t help ease the sting from his defeat, but the 23-year-old Medvedev made a huge impression in his first Grand Slam final. Many wrote him off completely after the second, and he pushed Nadal to the brink.
Even the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium couldn’t help but cheer Medvedev, who earlier in the tournament goaded the New York crowd into booing him even louder.
Mark Titus @clubtrillion
I know next to nothing about tennis but I know enough to have fallen in love with this Medvedev kid. Threw the match on with the intent to watch for 10 minutes. That was 3 hours ago. #USOpen
George Bellshaw @BellshawGeorge
Medvedev delivering an absolutely world class post-match interview. A true tennis star has absolutely been born here in New York.
Kelyn Soong @KelynSoong
Roar from the crowd as Medvedev takes the third set. Happy to hear the #usopen fans give him the props he deserves.
Kristie Ahn @kristieahn
Medvedev is that guy in the movie that you thought was gonna be the villain, but was one of the good guys all along 💕
The men’s singles final had a little bit of everything.
In addition to the on-court drama, fans witnessed a legend celebrate another memorable moment in what will be a Hall of Fame career. In Medvedev, the 2019 U.S. Open might have positioned a star who can help carry the mantle when Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic step aside.