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US Open champion puts resurgence down to 'passion' for tennis

12 September 2017

Rafael Nadal was at his destructive best as he recovered from a first set wobble to crush Juan Martin del Potro 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2 to make the US Open final on Friday.

"Doesn't matter if you are seeded one or seeded 20, for me always is special to play here in a tournament that I had success, a tournament where I enjoyed a lot of good matches and I have a great connection with the crowd". However, with Nadal as the other opponent, there was no doubt the Spaniard could handle the challenge, and that he did.

Against one of the greatest returners ever to walk the Earth, Anderson managed 10 aces, a commendable number but not enough to overcome the steep, uphill foe in question.

Anderson, 31, gave all thumbs up to Nadal, saying "I know we're the same age but I feel like I've been watching you my whole life".

After a trade of points, Anderson aced his way through the first game. That level of performance was too much for Anderson, who relies heavily on a huge serve that typically wins bunches of free points off lesser opponents.

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For mere mortals like ourselves who could never even begin to dream of reaching the world-class excellence of Nadal on a tennis court, that's quite an inspirational tale.

Nadal even came up with some terrific volleys, winning the point on all 16 of his trips to the net. As Patrick McEnroe, an ESPN analyst and former U.S. Davis Cup captain, put it, "Not only is Rafa so quick to defend, but he's so quick to attack".

Still, this was the most open years.

But after coming into NY at No. 32 - he would have been the lowest-ranked U.S. Open champion - Anderson will be back to the top 15 after his performance in Flushing Meadows.

World No 4 Alexander Zverev, and, love him or hate him, Nick Kyrgios, disappointed at a Grand Slam once again, but knowing they bring a certain je ne sais quoi to the court, expect to see this group of talented players eventually buck the trend. Not only have they split the four Grand Slam events this year, they've also combined to win more than half of the ATP's rich Masters series events so far in 2017.

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Nadal, the sixth and most recent left-hander to win a US Open title, added another crown at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2013, again downing the Serbian star in the final.

Sad yet bolstered, an Anderson who has worked to be more emotional in matches was of two minds after finishing. "While those things keep happening, I will be here".

"To close the Grand Slam year winning at NY - that's one of the events that's really high energy, the crowd - makes me so so happy". Whether you're a fan of the Nadal's or not, you can't help but admire the run that these two have had and the fight Nadal presents in every single match.

Nadal's victory took him three away from Roger Federer's all-time record of 19 Grand Slam titles, and the pair shared all four major victories between them in 2017. This fortnight also marks Toni Nadal's last major coaching Rafael.

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US Open champion puts resurgence down to 'passion' for tennis