After two great runs at the US Open in the previous two years (title in 2017 and the semi-final a year ago), Rafael Nadal headed to New York ready to fight for the fourth crown at the last Major of the season. Following the semi-final loss to Roger Federer at Wimbledon, Nadal switched focus to hard and won the title in Montreal, skipping Cincinnati to get some rest and prepare for the US Open where he received a great draw that only got better with every completed round.
Delivering well-controlled tennis on both serve and return, Rafa ousted five rivals (Thanasi Kokkinakins gave him a walkover in the second round) to find himself in the 27th Major final, defeating John Millman, Hyeon Chung, Marin Cilic, Diego Schwartzman and Matteo Berrettini to earn the place in the final, his fifth in New York and the tenth overall on hard court after adding five in Melbourne as well.
Rafa has become only the fifth player with ten Grand Slam finals on hard after Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras, proving his class on cement once again and earning an ultimate Grand Slam record achieved only by Roger Federer before him.
Namely, Nadal has become only the second player after Roger Federer with at least ten Grand Slam finals on two different surfaces, achieving the first part of the task with an incredible run at Roland Garros that saw him winning 12 titles from 15 appearances in Paris.
Nadal's first Major final on hard came at the Australian Open in 2009 when he outplayed Fernando Verdasco and Roger Federer in two epic matches to claim the title, staying competitive for a decade now and adding for title matches in Melbourne and five at the US Open to his tally, securing the record that will take some beating in the years to come, even for Novak Djokovic who has played in six Wimbledon finals.
Roger was the first to grab this record, entering the tenth Wimbledon title match in 2015 after already having 11 finals on hard court.