Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Nadal Breezes For 16th Grand Slam Title

Nadal Breezes For 16th Grand Slam Title

With four titles this year, including a Grand Slam at Roland Garros, Nadal raised the intensity of his game as the tournament progressed, and peaked by the time he met Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals. At No. 32, Anderson was the lowest-ranked U.S. Open men's finalist since the ATP computer rankings began in 1973.

When asked if he felt in a position to chase Roger Federer's record tally of 19 Grand Slam wins, Nadal said after his US Open triumph: 'I really never thought much about that.

It represented the world number one's second major win of the year, the other being his historic 10th French Open victory, in a dramatic change of fortunes from an injury-ravaged 2016. Nadal simply dominated every facet of the 2½-hour final.

By the time Nadal was biting the handle of the U.S. Open trophy on Sunday night, his usual way of celebrating a tournament victory, he had raised his career Grand Slam championship count to 16: three at Flushing Meadows, an unprecedented 10 at the French Open (including this June, shortly after turning 31), two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open.

By the end of the Australian Open, though, they were squaring off to decide the title.

Moya, who has been part of Nadal's team since December and will take over the primary coaching responsibilities from the Spaniard's uncle Toni, suggested emulating Federer is a distinct possibility if his compatriot can stay fit.

Both the players are 31 years old but the experience and accomplishments played a vital role in defining the victor from the very start of this match.

Forehands whipped up the line. Anderson, meanwhile, finished 16 for 34 in that category.

With Nadal standing way back to receive serves, almost backing into the line judges, he neutralized Anderson's most effective skill. The talk before the match was whether Anderson could break through Nadal from the back of the court with his power game, but Nadal did not give Anderson the room to breath or to get used to the circumstances of being in a first major final. He converted four of his nine breaking points while Anderson never had breaking chances.

"Since the beginning of the year it has been very emotional, and to close the Grand Slam year by winning in NY, I just can say thank you to life for that opportunity and thank you to my team and my family and everybody".

The 2010 and 2013 champion lost just 15 points on serve in the entire match, did not face a break point and won all 16 points he finished at the net. A pattern had been established.

Add it all up, and this much is certain: There are not a lot of reasons to expect Anderson to beat Nadal.

As the 2017 Grand Slam season wrapped up, it marked a return to the heights of their sport for Nadal and Federer: Each won two of the four major titles. Seems safe to say that, at age 31, he is once again the Nadal of old.

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