A day after Bianca Andreescu defeated Serena Williams to win her first — and Canada’s first — singles grand slam, Nadal survived against debut grand slam finalist Daniil Medvedev of Russia 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in a four-hour, 50-minute thriller in New York.
The two matchups just happened to be the finals of the Rogers Cup a few weeks ago, with Andreescu and Nadal winning those, too.
“It’s been one of the most emotional nights of my tennis career,” said Nadal, who wept in his chair when a recap of his 19 majors were shown on the big screen. He later sent his condolences to former tour player Karim Alami, whose son died recently.
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Medvedev certainly fared better than when he met Nadal in Montreal, claiming a mere three games.
Despite the tough loss, Medvedev showed a sense of humor during his speech.
“If I win, what will they show?” he said, referencing the video tribute.
He won over the fans Sunday, during a fortnight where he was previously cast as a villain.
The final wasn’t without controversy but it had nothing to do with Medvedev, as Nadal was docked first serves twice by chair umpire Ali Nili in the fifth set for taking too long to serve.
The mostly pro-Nadal crowd of 24,000 seemed to disapprove and Nili was booed during the trophy presentation. Nadal making Medvedev wait throughout while the 23-year-old served is sure to be debated, too.
In truth, though, it came nowhere close to the controversy in last year’s women’s final when Serena Williams clashed with chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
Nadal was creaking entering the fifth set, but in one of the two key games of the fifth, saved three break chances at 0-1. One came after he was docked a first serve.
Medvedev was then broken from 40-0 at 2-2 in the other massive game.