Rafael Nadal won his third US Open and 16th career grand slam title on Sunday, beating No. 32 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York.
When Nadal entered the 2017 Grand Slam season, things weren’t looking good. It had been almost two and a half injury-plagued years. To make things worse he was without an appearance in any major final, let alone win a title. Well, he ends it having restored himself, capped by a U.S Open title.
The King of Clay further solidified his standing as the world's No. 1 and trails only Roger Federer, who has 19 major titles, on the all-time men's grand slam singles list.
The 2010 and 2013 champion lost just 15 points on serve in what shaped up as quite a mismatched final. Nadal did not face a single breaking point and won all 16 points at the net. It was a ruthless demolition job by a man playing his 23rd Grand Slam final, up against an opponent playing his first.
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot against Kevin Anderson of South Africa during their Men's Singles finals match on Day Fourteen of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
At 32, Anderson was the lowest ranked US Open men’s finalist since the ATP rankings began in 1973. The 31-year-old South African had previously never been past the quarterfinals at any major tournament in 33 previous appearances.
The Spaniard, 31, has now won two Slams in the same year for the first time since 2013, having won the French Open in June. With Federer, who also won Wimbledon, and Nadal each winning two majors this year, both further distance themselves from the rest of the men on the all-time grand slam titles list: Pete Sampras is third with 14, while Novak Djokovic is the next active player on the list with 12, tied with Roy Emerson.