Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the championship trophy after defeating Daniil Medvedev, of Russian Federation, to win the men's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in NY.
He survived by willing himself through the fifth set, by persevering after having blown a two sets-to-none lead up a break in the third and then frittering away two championship points in the ninth game of the fourth set.
Creaking to start the fifth, Nadal broke from 40-0 at 2-2 to break open the deciding set.
As many on Twitter pointed out, he became only the second male player born in the 1990s to even win a set in a Grand Slam final.
Meanwhile, Nadal has also overall clinched his third five-set major final after beating Federer in a deciding set for the 2008 Wimbledon and 2009 Australian Open trophies.
Nadal needed three championship points to finally kill off his 23-year-old opponent and let out a mighty roar as Medvedev's final return sailed long before falling on his back to soak up the cheers.
Nadal won the first two sets 7-5, 6-3 and seemed poised to cruise to a 19th Grand Slam title.
The star is undefeated in his French Open appearances and holds the most titles for singles, male or female, in tennis history.
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Who knows how much longer they will reign, but 2020 is shaping up to be special. "I need to be playing at my best", Nadal said.
In short, the king was emotional as hell especially because officials made a decision to chuck a montage of Rafa's Grand Slam wins on the big screen.
Nadal's victory moves him within one of Swiss rival Roger Federer's all-time leading tally of Grand Slam victories.
Medvedev was attempting to become the first Grand Slam champion born in the 1990s. "I would love to be the one who has [the most], yes".
The Muscovite, though, had Nadal on the ropes - and feuding with the chair umpire in frustration after receiving a series of time violations for exceeding the 25-second limit between points - early in the fifth set.
The 33-year-old Spaniard won the U.S. Open in Queens, N.Y. tonight in an arduous five-set match.
So, a reporter wanted to know later, was Nadal already thinking ahead to how to come back in the next set? Nadal's feat ties him with Djokovic and Emerson for second on the list in men's tennis, behind Federer, who has won multiple majors in six years.
By the end of the evening, however, he had earned the respect and admiration of the crowd for a gutsy performance that established him as a genuine threat to the stranglehold Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have on the Grand Slams.
"It's really unusual. I think this year before I've played like three lefties in all the year", Medvedev said before the game.