Favorite Rafael Nadal Easily Defeats Kevin Anderson to Win Third US Open, 16th Grand Slam Event

Favorite Rafael Nadal Easily Defeats Kevin Anderson to Win Third US Open, 16th Grand Slam Event

The world’s No. 1 ranked player Rafael Nadal breezed through the finals of the US Open, defeating South African Kevin Anderson on Sunday in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

Rafa Nadal

Rafael Nadal was a 4-1 favorite to win the US Open, which he did, defeating 125-1 long shot Kevin Anderson on Sunday. (Image: Associated Press)

The tournament’s top seed was also the favorite at sportsbooks with odds ranging from 5-2 to 4-1 before the event began two weeks ago.

It was the third time the Spaniard has won the final grand slam event of the year, held at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York. It was the 31-year-old professional’s 16th major title and his second this year. He won his 10th  French Open on June 11 defeating Stan Wawrinka, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

This is the first season in a while he has been fully healthy. He was battling knee and wrist problems that had gotten progressively worse and it showed in 2015 and 2016. Those years were the first since 2004 when he failed to reach at least one grand slam final.

“Of course, after a couple of years without competing at this very high, high level, I’m very happy to be back.,” he said after the event.

Cruising to Winner’s Circle

Capturing the trophy was much easier than his French Open victory as a rash of injuries to top players weakened the field. Wawrinka, the 2016 winner, had a knee injury, Andy Murray had an issue with his hip and two-time winner Novak Djokovic was experiencing elbow problems. Nadal didn’t face an opponent ranked in the top 20 in his run to the title.

The semifinal fans were hoping to see never materialized. Roger Federer, who won the other two big events this year, The Australian Open and Wimbledon, was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Juan Martin del Potro.

It looked like Nadal might suffer the same fate when he lost the first set of the semifinals, but he came back 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 to get to the last match and face Anderson, an opponent he had never lost to in five previous meetings.

No Win, But History Made

Anderson also benefited from some upsets. No. 8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost in the first round and fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev was dispatched in the second. Marin Cilic, the No. 5 seed, lost in the third round. Anderson defeated No. 17 seed Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals and No. 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the semifinals.

That got the No. 32-ranked player into his first grand slam final and he became the lowest-ranked U.S. Open men’s finalist since the ATP computer rankings began in 1973.

The South African was 125-1 before the tournament began to win the event and would have been a nice payday had he pulled off the upset, but he was clearly outmatched.

Still just becoming the first from his country to  reach the US Open final since Cliff Drysdale was runner-up in 1965 and the first in a grand slam singles final since Kevin Curren at the 1984 Australian Open was satisfying.

“Getting to my first grand slam final, there’s been a lot of emotions for me,” he said. “I’ll keep working hard. I’ll be back.”

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