After Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev became the second player born in the 90s with two Major finals. The Russian had to deal with the most formidable opponents at the US Open 2019 and recently finished Australian Open, losing those title matches to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Speaking about those matches, Daniil said they both came as setbacks and put the US Open final above Melbourne's one, as he had his chances against Rafael Nadal. After four hours and 49 minutes of titanic battle, Nadal took down Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 to collect the 19th Grand Slam crown and move a step away from Roger Federer.
Daniil had played over 20 matches in the past six weeks, saving enough energy to challenge Rafa in the last three sets and produce a memorable final. Both players had more winners than unforced errors in an incredible mixture of attacking tennis and a mind-blowing defense, proving they were the world's best players at that moment.
Nadal was two sets to love ahead and with a break in the third set before Daniil started to climb back, stealing the third set and setting up a decider in what could have been the most significant turnaround at the US Open in 70 years.
Nonetheless, Nadal survived the fifth set's opening service game and moved over the top with a double break, barely taking the victory home to fall to the ground in disbelief. The opening set lasted for over an hour, and it brought a grueling battle that offered two early breaks and a real struggle in the remaining games.
Nadal struggled to find the first serve and had to pay the price already in the third game when Daniil broke after the Spaniard's loose forehand. The Russian couldn't stay in front for too long, though, spraying a backhand error in the next game to bring Rafa back to the positive side of the scoreboard, with three more return chances for world no.
2 at 4-3. Daniil repelled them all and survived another challenging service game at 4-5 when he was two points from losing set four times.
Rafael Nadal prevailed over Daniil Medvedev in almost five hours at the US Open 2019.
After those two first service games, Rafa was in the zone in the rest of the set, delivering one good hold after another and finally finding the way to steal 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 a lot of pressure after failing to do much in the next four return games. Rafa squandered no less than four chances at 2-1, battling hard and earning the desired break two games later when Daniil netted a forehand right after the serve.
Rafa grabbed a break in the third set's game five when Daniil netted a backhand, marching towards the finish line from that point. Getting broken only once so far, the Spaniard played a loose service game to waste the advantage, bringing 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 that would provide the one extra step he had to take. 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, reducing the overall deficit after two hours and 53 minutes and preparing for more drama in the rest of a thrilling encounter.
The fourth set lasted for over 50 minutes, and it was a mighty close one, with Daniil winning one point more. He repelled two break chances at 2-2 and delivered that pivotal break in game ten after taking four straight points from 40-15 down.
The Russian closed the set with a return winner and was now a set away from one of the most remarkable comebacks in the Major finals' history, earning a boost ahead of the decider. Facing an ultimate challenge, Rafa saved three break points in the fifth set's second game in a manner of a true champion.
That allowed him to take charge, deliver breaks in games five (his first after ten mediocre return games) and seven and open a massive lead. Losing focus once again at 5-2, the Spaniard received another 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 to reduce the deficit to 5-4 and force the Spaniard to serve for the title. With no room for errors, Rafa finally sailed over the finish line after fending off a break point in game ten, celebrating the title in what had been one of the longest US Open finals in history.