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Last Updated Thursday April 19 2018 03:14 PM IST

Nadal back to his menacing best

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Nadal back to his menacing best Rafael Nadal in action during the US Open final Sunday. Photo: Getty Images

Rafael Nadal came up with a ruthless performance against Kevin Anderson in the US Open final on Sunday night to take his Grand Slam singles tally to 16. The Spaniard has had a wonderful 2017, winning the French Open for the tenth time besides making it to the final of the Australian Open before going down to arch-rival Roger Federer in an epic five-setter. Nadal also regained the world No. 1 rank and his only blip at the majors this year came at the Wimbledon, where he was taken out by Luxembourg's Gilles Muller in a thrilling fourth-round match which went the distance, the latter winning 15-13 in the decider.

Nadal has always been a fighter and it was this never-say-die attitude which made him stage a remarkable comeback this year. Plagued by injuries, he missed most of 2016 and the Australian Open final was his first Grand Slam final in close to three years. With other top contenders Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray as well as defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka giving the US Open a miss due to injuries, Nadal and Federer were the hot favorites. Though both the legends began their campaign rather shakily, there was no doubt that these two were the men to beat on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows. However, Argentine Juan Martin del Potro's stunning win over Federer in the quarterfinals meant a first-ever US Open meeting between Nadal and the Swiss maestro was not going to take place this year too.

Nadal relied on his grit and superior fitness to turn around the semifinal clash against del Potro after losing the opening set. Anderson, who became the first South African since Kevin Curren in 1985 to enter a Grand Slam final, was clearly the underdog ahead of the title clash. Nadal was at his menacing best in the final and capped off a memorable outing with a straight-sets win. After dismantling a much more experienced Wawrinka in the French Open final, Nadal did an encore to tame Anderson and clinch his third US Open title.

  • US Open

    Rafael Nadal poses with the championship trophy after winning the US Open. Photo | Getty Images.

    US Open
  • US Open

    Rafael Nadal is awarded US Open championship after defeating Kevin Anderson in the final Sunday. Photo | Getty Images

    US Open
  • US Open

    Rafael Nadal in action during the men's singles final at the US Open Sunday. Photo | Getty Images

    US Open
  • US Open

    Kevin Anderson during the US Open final. Photo | Getty Images

    US Open
  • US Open

    Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the US Open. Photo | Getty Images

    US Open
  • US Open

    Rafael Nadal shakes hands with Kevin Anderson after defeating him in the US Open final, Sunday. Photo | Getty Images

    US Open

It has been simply sensational that Nadal, 31, and Federer, 36, have shared the four Grand Slams between them this season. Federer leads the all-time list with 19 majors, while Nadal is a close second with 16. Who will bet against these two special players in their race to become the first man to enter the magical club of 20 Grand Slam titles?

Read more: Latest sports updates | Tennis | Stephens drubs Keys to claim US Open title

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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