Rafael Nadal Claims US Open Title #3 With Routine Victory
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Rafael Nadal is well on track for his highest win total since 2013, as the Spaniard improved his mark for 2017 to 56-9 with 5 titles (2 Grand Slams) after taking the 2017 US Open title over first time finalist Kevin Anderson. The South African had a great run but was no match for Rafa in the final. Nadal claiming his 16th Grand Slam overall, and his 3rd in New York. Nadal beat Anderson 6-3 6-3 6-4 as Anderson’s serve let him down, and Rafa was sharp on both serve and return in every set.
The 31 year old Spaniard started his journey at the national tennis center by defeating Dusan Lajovic, he defeated Taro Daniel and Leonardo Mayer in 4 sets, Alexandr Dolgopolov in straights, Andrey Rublev by the same measure, and an exhausted Juan Martin Del Potro in 4 sets, after Del Potro had played magical tennis in victories over Dominic Thiem (from 2 sets down), and Roger Federer in 4 sets, Federer failing to face Nadal yet again at the US Open, and concluding a disappointing run in the quarterfinals. Nadal’s movement and moxie were unmatched this tournament.
The 31 year old South African Anderson took advantage of a weak bottom half of the draw. He had a big serve, but also a much improved return game as he defeated JC Aragone, Ernests Gulbis, Borna Coric, Paolo Lorenzi, Sam Querrey, and Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the final. The win against Querrey was his best, as he won in 4 close sets, never facing a decisive 5th set this week. Unlike American women, American men couldn’t capitalize on an open draw in their home slam. Time will tell whether Anderson is here to stay as a threat on tour, or if he’ll return to his above average status, below the tour’s elite.
Carreno Busta broke through to a semifinal, and didn’t drop a set en route. His best win came against Canadian wonderkid Denis Shapovalov. Once a clay court specialist, PCB has cemented himself as a top 20 player who can threaten on hard courts as well. He won’t be chronically underappreciated much longer, as he’s surpassed other Spaniards on tour as the clear #2 or #3 Spaniard with Nadal, and Roberto Bautista Agut ranked with him.
Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau defeated the Lopez brothers, Feliciano and Marc, denying Spain both of the men’s titles this US Open. Rojer and Tecau have won 2 Grand Slams together.