Rafael Nadal knew: ‘Novak Djokovic will win the US Open soon, he is incredible’

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met in their first Major final at the US Open 2010. Two incredible baseliners spent three hours and 43 minutes on the court, and Nadal prevailed 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 to secure a Career Grand Slam at 24! It was the third consecutive Major crown for the Spaniard, who played on a high level during those two weeks in New York, dominating serve and return and dropping only one set in seven encounters. Novak prevailed in set number two, but it was not enough to keep him in contention, as Rafa sealed the deal in the fourth to start a massive celebration and enter the record books. After the match, Nadal praised Djokovic as the ultimate rival and competitor who is always there to congratulate you when he loses. Also, Rafa labeled Novak as the future US Open winner, which would fulfill only 12 months later.

Still, Nadal was the one who had the upper hand in 2010, beating Djokovic for the 15th time in 22 encounters. Novak seized three breaks from four opportunities, but that was not enough to keep him safe after dropping 42% of the points behind the initial shot and facing 25 break points! Digging deep, the Serb erased 20 of those, but the Spaniard created the gap with five breaks on his tally. Rafa played better behind the second serve and had the edge in the shortest and most advanced exchanges. Nadal grabbed a break in the opening game with a thrilling backhand and sprayed a forehand mistake in the fourth game to lose the advantage.

Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2010 US Open final.

In game five, the Spaniard broke again with a forehand down the line winner, fired three winners at 4-3 and sealed the set with a hold at 15 in game ten. Djokovic forged a 3-1 advantage in the second set and held at love to increase the gap and settle into a fine rhythm. Nadal broke back in game seven and brought the next one home with a service winner for 4-4. The rain halted the action for two hours, and Novak broke at 6-5 when they returned to secure the set and level the overall score. Djokovic played against 11 break points in the third set, and he could not stay on the level therms with Nadal. The Spaniard earned a break in the third game and served well to take the set 6-4 and move closer to the finish line. With momentum on his side, Rafa broke Novak at 1-1 and 3-1 in the fourth set to break the rival’s resistance and seal the deal on his serve at 5-2.

“The feeling is fantastic. Beating Novak is never easy, and my defeats against him tell enough. I played my best US Open match in the more important moment, and I’m pleased about that. Novak plays aggressive tennis and takes the ball early, and I knew this one would be tough for me. It’s not easy to beat him from the baseline, as he hits well from both wings. Nonetheless, I felt great on the court from the start and tried to keep my intensity and focus. I knew Novak would be more tired than me after playing five sets on Saturday. Still, I had to give my everything to beat him, especially when he plays at his best. I’m sure Novak will win this tournament soon. He plays at an unbelievable level, and I’m sure he can win every notable event. I wish him all the best; he is a great person and athlete. Despite tough losses, he is always there to congratulate the winner, giving us a great example,” Rafael Nadal said.

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