'Rafael Nadal and I played for five hours,' Daniil Medvedev says



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'Rafael Nadal and I played for five hours,' Daniil Medvedev says

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev are the rivals in the 2022 Australian Open final, facing each other for the second time in the title match at Majors. At the 2019 US Open, the Spaniard prevailed over the Russian 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in four hours and 49 minutes for his 19th Major crown.

Rafa barely prevailed over the young gun, who gave everything in his first Major final. Both players had more winners than unforced errors in an incredible mixture of attacking tennis and a mind-blowing defense, as we expected from the world's most in-form players.

Nadal was two sets to love ahead and with a break in the third before Medvedev started to climb back, setting up a decider in what could have been the most significant turnaround in the US Open finals in 70 years! Nonetheless, after an incredible battle, Rafa survived the fifth set's opening service game and moved over the top with two breaks on his tally.

The opening set lasted for over an hour and brought grueling tennis from the finest baseliners. Rafa struggled to find the first serve and paid the price already in the third game when Daniil broke after the Spaniard's loose forehand.

The Russian could not stay in front for too long, though, spraying a backhand error in the next game to bring the Spaniard back to the positive side. Daniil repelled three break points in game eight and survived another challenging service game at 4-5 when he was two points from losing the set four times.

Nadal was in the zone in the rest of the set, delivering one good hold after another and finally stealing Medvedev's serve in game 12 for 7-5 after 63 minutes. Daniil was the more aggressive player again in set number two, wasting a break chance in the first game and finding himself under pressure after failing to do much in the next four return games.

Rafael Nadal prevailed over Daniil Medvedev in the 2019 US Open final.

Rafa squandered four break chances at 2-1 before earning the desired break two games later when Daniil netted a forehand, serving well and wrapping up the set in game nine for a massive advantage.

Nadal grabbed a break in the third set's fifth game when Medvedev netted a backhand, marching towards the finish line in those moments. Getting broken only once so far, the Spaniard played a loose service game to waste the advantage and bring the Russian back to 3-3.

Rafa had more chances to go ahead at 4-4 when the youngster repelled a couple of break chances for a massive momentum. Medvedev held at love in game 11 and stole Nadal's serve at 15 with a backhand down the line winner in the next one for 7-5 and a better position on the court after two hours and 53 minutes.

The fourth set lasted for over 50 minutes, and it was a mighty close one, with Daniil winning one point more than Rafa. The Russian repelled two break chances at 2-2 and delivered the pivotal break in game ten after taking four straight points from 40-15 down.

Medvedev closed the set with a return winner and was a set away from one of the most remarkable comebacks in the Major finals. Facing an ultimate challenge, Rafa erased three break points in the fifth set's second game in a manner of a true champion.

After that, he took charge and delivered a break in game five after ten mediocre return games. The more experienced player held in game six and produced another break in the next one to forge a 5-2 advantage and put one hand on the trophy.

Losing focus a bit in those moments, the Spaniard received a time violation and suffered a break after a double fault to keep Medvedev alive. Fighting like a lion, Daniil repelled two match points on serve with winners in game nine to reduce the deficit to 5-4 and force the Spaniard to serve for the title.

With no room for errors, Rafa sailed over the finish line after fending off a break point in game ten, celebrating the title in one of the longest US Open finals in history.