NEW YORK, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal outlasted fifth seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in a thrilling five-set final to win the U.S. Open title on Sunday.
Nadal survived a comeback by the Russian to notch up a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory in one of the most gripping five-set finals in Grand Slam history. The 33-year-old needed four hours and 50 minutes to finish off the match.
Looking dead and buried at two sets down, 23-year-old Medvedev rallied from two sets and a break down to force a fifth set. However, showing his trademark fighting spirit, Nadal withstood his challenger's efforts to win his 19th Grand Slam title in stunning fashion.
Nadal's victory moves him just one shy of Swiss great Roger Federer's all-time men's record of 20 Grand Slam triumphs.
"I would love to be the one who wins more Grand Slams, but I am not thinking and not going to practise every day for it. I am playing tennis because I love to play tennis," Nadal said afterwards.
"What gives you happiness is the personal satisfaction that you gave your best. In that way I am very pleased with myself," he added.
The Spaniard's Grand Slam titles include 12 French Opens, four U.S. Open titles, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open.
Nadal also reserved praise for his opponent, expressing his belief that the Russian has a bright future in the sport.
"The match became more and more difficult, but I was able to hold the nerves. It was a crazy match and I'm just very emotional. Daniil is only 23 years old and the way he was able to fight and change the rhythm of the match was amazing. He will have many more opportunities like this," Nadal said.
"He has a great, great future in front of him. I really believe that he will be able to win Grand Slams. It's impossible to predict the future, but his career looks good," added Nadal, who is the first man to claim five major titles after turning 30.
The U.S. Open victory was also Nadal's second Grand Slam title of the year, after he won his 12th French Open crown in June.
For Medvedev, who won at Cincinnati and also finished runner-up at Montreal and Washington, this summer will be long remembered for his breakthrough.
"After the summer I had no fear. I had everything to win. I went out there, I gave everything I could, and I'm proud of myself," the Russian said.
"Even though it's my first Grand Slam final, I've been playing tennis for 17 years. I've had a lot of big matches, [but] not as big as this one. I'm ready for these moments to just be there and try to win the match.
Medvedev added, "It's not a matter of focus or fear in the fifth set. It's just the matter of two tennis players fighting against each other, because I always say tennis is a tough sport because you're only against yourself and your opponent. You don't have a team behind you to support you. You don't have anyone." Enditem