NEW YORK Ė Spainís Rafael Nadal captured his third US Open title with a dominating 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory Sunday afternoon over big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.
The world No. 1 took charge of the match from the outset, controlling his own service games and using his returning and baseline-hitting prowess to heap pressure on Andersonís service games.
The statistics told the story of the match, which saw Nadal snag a service break midway through the first set and never look back.
The now 16-time Grand Slam champion did not face a single break point in the contest, an impressive achievement even against a 2.03-meter (6-foot-8) player who is known more for his power than his mobility.
Nadal was virtually flawless in every area, hitting 30 winners to just 11 unforced errors, going 16-of-16 on his net approaches and losing just seven points on his first serve over the course of the two-hour, 27-minute match.
Nadal cruised through his first four rounds at this hard-court Grand Slam tournament but then put on one of the most impressive performances of his career over his final three matches, routing Russian teenager Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, storming back from a set down to defeat Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 and then clinching his third US Open title (2010, 2013 and 2017) with his comfortable victory on Sunday.
ďFor me, personally, itís unbelievable. After a couple of years with some injury problems, it has been very emotional since the beginning of the season. Since the Australian Open, Iíve been playing a very high level of tennis. Winning here in New York gives me great energy, because the crowd is unbelievable. They make me feel so happy,Ē Nadal said in a post-match interview on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 31-year-old Spaniard was nearly as dominant at Flushing Meadows as he was in winning his 15th Grand Slam title at the French Open earlier this year, when he extended his record title haul at that clay-court major to 10.
Nadalís sublime play this fortnight caps off what has been an impressive comeback for the Spaniard, who seemed to be in decline two years ago and had gone 11 Slams without a winnerís trophy prior to this yearís Roland Garros.
His performance also is sure to revive discussions about whether he can still mount a challenge to Federerís record of 19 Grand Slam titles.
The 36-year-old Swiss great lost at this yearís US Open in the quarterfinals to Del Potro, but he also has had a remarkable 2017 Grand Slam campaign that saw him win the Australian Open in January (defeating Nadal in the final) and capture a record eighth Wimbledon title in July.