RAFAEL Nadal has held off Daniil Medvedev in a five-set classic to win the US Open and move within one place of Roger Federer’s 20 grand slams.
The Spaniard, 33, beat the Russian 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in front of a buzzing crowd of 24,000 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
Second seed Rafa was two sets up, before his 23-year-old opponent forced a decider, but Nadal clung on to clinch his 19th major.
The match that lasted four hours and 50 minutes – just four minutes shorter than the longest ever US Open final.
“It was the most emotional night in my tennis career,” said Nadal post-match, “the nerves were so high, it was a crazy match.”
The Spaniard also paid tribute to his opponent as he said: “[Medvedev’s] summer is one of the best in the sport since I started playing.
“The way that he was able to fight was just incredible.”
First-time slam finalist Medvedev said: “Unbelievable, outrageous, Rafa winning his 19th slam title.
“It’s amazing for our sport what you’ve done.
“I fought for every point but unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”
Nadal, who also won his 12th French Open title this year is now just one grand slam win away from his Swiss rival Federer, 38.
The all-time men’s slam titles list now reads: Federer, 20, Nadal, 19, Novak Djokovic, 16, Pete Sampras, 14, Roy Emerson, 12.