Live Commentary: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal - as it happened

Live Commentary: Djokovic vs. Nadal - as it happened
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Relive Sports Mole's coverage of the men's US Open final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Rafael Nadal claimed his second US Open title following a 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows.

The Spaniard's victory means that he has now won 22 of the 37 meetings between the two players on all surfaces.

It is also Nadal's 13th Grand Slam title and his second in this particular competition.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's game-by-game coverage of the action.


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9.31pmEvening all! So, it all comes down to this one match. Andy Murray might have made some serious noises over the past year, but it is difficult to argue that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal do not deserve to be in the final of the US Open. I have a feeling that we could be in for a long night. Be sure to remain with us and you will not miss a moment.

9.34pmIn total, these two players have met on 36 occasions. As mentioned, Nadal has shaded it with 21 wins to Djokovic’s 15, but the latter is, of course, the current world number one. That will not change regardless of what happens this evening, but following Nadal’s recent injury problems, it would be some achievement if he could pick up the crown.

9.37pmIn truth, Djokovic was not tested in the early rounds of the competition. In fact, he did not lose a single set until he met Mikhael Youzhny in the quarter-finals, but managed to advance to set up a clash with Andy Murray’s-conqueror Stanislas Wawrinka. He trailed two-sets-to-one against the Swiss, but managed to recover against his hard-hitting opponent.

9.40pmRecent history suggests that long semi-finals do cause problems in the final. That was indeed the case for Djokovic at the 2012 US Open final and this year’s Wimbledon, where the Serbian was beaten by Andy Murray. While a three-set match is not out of the question this evening, I would be surprised if we did not see a four/five hour contest.

9.43pmNadal, meanwhile, has been in stunning form. The Spaniard has torn his way through a difficult US Open draw, losing only one set and remarkably dropping his serve just once. Richard Gasquet had been tipped to provide the Spaniard with some problems in the semi-final after an impressive tournament of his own, but Nadal overcame the Frenchman in three sets.

9.46pmFor all their success, Djokovic and Nadal have met just five times in Grand Slam finals. The former currently edges it with three wins to Nadal’s two, while the Serbian has an 11-6 record against Nadal on hard courts. That said, Nadal did beat Djokovic last month in the semi-finals in Montreal.

9.49pmIn 2013, Djokovic has won 44 of his 52 matches. That is in contrast to Nadal, who has picked up 53 wins in 56 games, a quite stunning record. Nadal has also picked up nine titles to Djokovic’s three in 2013, a run of form which led to Djokovic stating in a pre-match press conference: “With no doubt he's the best player in the moment this year".

9.52pmOf course, it is difficult to forget that Nadal was dumped out in the first round of Wimbledon this year by Steve Darcis, but aside from that blip, it has been some year for the 27-year-old, who only returned in February following a seven-month lay-off with knee problems. It had been suggested that Nadal would struggle to reach the standards that he had previously enjoyed. Well, he is now arguably better than he has ever been.

9.55pmHowever, the Spaniard is up against the world number one. A player that is into his third Grand Slam final of the year, his fourth consecutive US Open and his 12th overall. He might have had a tougher route to the final of the competition, but he did have Sunday to recuperate. It is the best player in the world against the best player of 2013. Over to the players then.

9.58pmNadal's uncle Toni has also admitted that he could never have imagined that the Spaniard would return from his long-term injury in such fine form. He told BBC Sport: "We had many problems and I couldn't think that seven months later Rafa can be where he is now." Will Nadal complete his journey in New York?

10.01pmHere we go then. Both sets of players are just about to emerge from the changing rooms. "For me, it is a dream come true... I have the chance to play this match in the final of the US Open so I am very happy and very excited," Nadal has just told ESPN.

10.04pmMeanwhile, Djokovic said: "It is fantastic to be able to play another final and to play against one of the best players in the world. It is incredible and I will embrace every moment of it... It is our third final and I have to expect a difficult match."

10.07pmSurprisingly, it seems that Djokovic received a bigger cheer when he entered the stadium. However, I am certain that the crowd will back whoever is behind, they want to see a classic. Both players have just started their warm-up. We were due for a 10pm start, but it will be slightly later than that.

10.10pmThere is a capacity ground of around 23,000 inside this wonderful stadium. It must also be said that the weather is with the players – wind has played a part over the last couple of weeks, but it appears to have moved on for this particular match. For the 12th time in US Open history, the top two seeds come head-to-head in the final.

10.12pmFormer world number one Boris Becker and former world number four Greg Rusedski both believe that Nadal will come through in five sets in this one. Right, we are ready to get the men's US Open final underway. Djokovic will serve first.

Djokovic 1-0* NadalExplosive start to the game as both players exchange forehands from the baseline before Nadal fires long. Djokovic steps forward in the next point, but he can only clip just past the line for 15-15. A stunning rally follows, but Nadal fires long once more to hand Djokovic the lead, but the Serbian nets moments later for 30-30. However, Djokovic does manage to close out the first game with an ace after Nadal had clipped wide once more.

Djokovic *1-1 NadalPlenty of power from both players in the early exchanges as they continue to share strokes from the baseline. Nadal moves 30-0 with Djokovic firing wide twice in quick succession, but the Serbian gets on the board with Nadal firing beyond the baseline. Another unforced error from Djokovic moves Nadal 40-15 ahead moments later, but the world number one responds with a stunning forehand return, before Nadal nets for deuce. Nadal holds firm, however, to level the set at 1-1.

Djokovic 1-2* NadalBREAK! Stunning from Nadal in the opening point as the Spaniard whips a forehand down the line following an explosive backhand from Djokovic. The world number one levels as Nadal nets from inside the court, before Djokovic volleys himself 30-15 ahead. Djokovic then fires wide, however, to leave the game at 30-30, before another error hands Nadal break point, but the Spaniard nets once more to take it to deuce. Another break point follows the second deuce and that is indeed taken with a stunning forehand from the Spaniard.

Djokovic *1-3 NadalFantastic response from Djokovic in the early stages of the game as he twice forces Nadal into errors to move 0-30 ahead. However, he allows Nadal onto the board with a long forehand moments later, before netting to leave the score level at 30-30. Another long forehand moves Nadal 40-30 ahead, but a devastating forehand from Djokovic leaves the game tied at deuce. Nadal manages to hold, however, following a couple of errors from the world number one.

Djokovic 2-3* NadalGood response from Djokovic in his third service game as he quickly moves 30-0 ahead with a couple of thunderous forehands forcing Nadal to hit the net. An ace sends the world number one 40-0 ahead, but a double fault allows Nadal to move onto the board. Another wonderful serve, however, secures the hold for the Serbian.

Djokovic *2-4 NadalGood grief that is some hitting from Nadal. Djokovic is just struggling to generate his own power at the moment as he again hits wide twice in quick succession to leave the Spaniard 30-0 ahead. It quickly becomes 40-0 as Djokovic clips a forehand wide, before the hold is secured with a simply stunning reach from the Spaniard. Just sensational from Nadal as he reaches a drop shot before clipping into the opposite corner.

Djokovic 2-5* NadalBREAK! The best rally of the match thus far arrives in the opening point as Nadal again reaches a Djokovic drop shot before whipping a backhand into the opposite corner. It becomes 0-30 as Djokovic fails to reach a forehand onto the baseline, before the Serbian nets to trail 0-40. The break does indeed arrive at the first time of asking as a challenge from Nadal sees the ball drop long.

Djokovic *2-6 NadalSET! Nadal does indeed claim the opening set 6-2 following a stunning showing from the Spaniard. Djokovic claims the opening point with a forehand to move 0-15 ahead, but the Serbian then fires long to leave the game tied at 15-15. A stunning forehand from the world number one moves him ahead once more, but he then misses a passing forehand. Nadal moves 40-30 ahead with a composed forehand, before Djokovic fires long to hand the Spaniard the opening set.

Djokovic 2-6 1-0* NadalPositive start to the opening game of the second set for Djokovic as the Serbian forces Nadal to fire long for 15-0. However, a slip contributes to Nadal moving level moments later. The Spaniard again fires long moments later to leave Djokovic 30-15 ahead, but the world number one follows suit in the next point. Djokovic does manage to hold, however, with a couple of well-placed backhands.

Djokovic *2-6 1-1 NadalAgain it's really bright work from Djokovic as two stunning forehands force Nadal into a couple of errors, leaving the Serbian 0-30 ahead. It's sensational defence from the Spaniard moments later as an overhead smash moves him onto the board, but Djokovic sets up two break points as Nadal nets. The world number one fires the first of those long, before a stunning pass from Nadal levels the game at deuce. Nadal then manages to secure the hold following the second deuce with a wild one from Djokovic.

Djokovic 2-6 2-1* NadalDjokovic simply cannot believe it as another exchange in the opening point sees Nadal make a number of incredible reaches, eventually moving 0-15 ahead as Djokovic nets. But the Spaniard fires wide moments later to leave it at 15-15, before another wild one hands Djokovic the advantage. A stunning volley moves the Serbian 40-15 ahead moments later, before he secures the game with Nadal firing long.

Djokovic *2-6 2-2 NadalNadal runs around his forehand in the opening point to move 15-0 ahead, before a stunning backhand moves the Spaniard 30-0 ahead. Just stunning from both players, who are putting on some show this early evening in New York. It quickly becomes 40-0 as Djokovic is unable to meet a delicate placement from the Spaniard, before Djokovic fires long to hand the game to Nadal.

Djokovic 2-6 3-2* NadalNadal blinks first in the fifth game as he nets to hand Djokovic a 15-0 lead, before a stunning backhand from the Serbian moves him 30-0 ahead. Nadal registers with a whipped forehand moments later, but he then fires long to leave Djokovic with game point - which is taken with an ace.

Djokovic *2-6 4-2 NadalBREAK! Djokovic's radar is just slightly off in the early stages of the game as he fires long to hand Nadal a 15-0 lead, but that quickly becomes 15-15 as Nadal nets from inside the court. The shot of the match follows as Djokovic lobs Nadal from behind the baseline, but he nets moments later to leave the game level at 30-30. A stunning move from the world number one hands him break point, which he takes following the longest rally of the match thus far.

Djokovic 2-6 4-3* NadalBREAK! Disappointing start to the game for Djokovic as he hits the net to hand Nadal the advantage, before a double fault allows Nadal to move 0-30 ahead. Djokovic's struggles continue as he fires wide following a Nadal forehand - handing Nadal three break-back points. He saves the first of those with a wonderful reach, before Nadal nets to leave the score at 30-40. The Spaniard takes the third opportunity, however, as Djokovic fires long.

Djokovic *2-6 5-3 NadalBREAK! Djokovic blinks first in the opening point as the Serbian fires wide to hand Nadal a 15-0 lead. However, the Spaniard follows suit moments later to leave it tied after two points. Another stunning forehand from the Spaniard moves him ahead, before Djokovic fires long to leave Nadal 40-15 ahead. That becomes 40-30 as Nadal fires long, before Djokovic levels at deuce with a thumping forehand. The Serbian eventually manages to secure another break following the fifth deuce of the game. Stunning from the world number one.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3* NadalSET! Not the best start to the game for Djokovic as he nets to hand Nadal a 0-15 lead, but a devastating serve levels the scores at 15-15 moments later. Another error hands Nadal 15-30, but the Spaniard then fires long to leave it level at 30-30. Djokovic moves into the lead as Nadal can only fire long following an overhead smash, before the set is secured with a backhand down the line.

Djokovic *2-6 6-3 1-0 NadalBREAK! Good start to the third set for Djokovic as Nadal nets to hand the Serbian a 0-15 lead, before a simply stunning return from the Serbian moves him 0-30 ahead. Just fabulous from the world number one. The Spaniard then fires long to hand Djokovic three break points - the first of which is taken. What a response from the Serbian.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 2-0* NadalDjokovic can do no wrong at the moment as he finds that extra yard to drop a stunning shot past Nadal in the opening point of the game. That becomes 30-0 seconds later as the Spaniard fires wide, but Djokovic follows suit moments later. The Serbian does manage to regain the lead, but nets in the next point to leave it at 40-30, before Nadal secures deuce moments later. Djokovic does manage to hold, however, following a stunning ace.

Djokovic *2-6 6-3 2-1 NadalDjokovic blinks first in the first point as he fires wide to hand Nadal a 15-0 lead, but Nadal nets moments later following a powerful forehand from Djokovic, before a similar exchange moves the Serbian ahead. Nadal responds to level at 30-30, before Djokovic fires long to hand the Spaniard game point, but deuce arrives following a whipped forehand from Djokovic. The Serbian sets up break point with a backhand return, but he fires long as deuce two arrives. Nadal does indeed close it out as Djokovic fires long.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 3-1* NadalDjokovic attempts to serve and volley in the opening point, but he can only find the net from close range. However, he moves onto the board moments later with a stunning drop shot, before a powerful forehand moves him 30-15 ahead. Nadal fires long moments later to hand Djokovic game point - which is indeed taken.

Djokovic *2-6 6-3 3-2 NadalIt's stunning from Djokovic in the first point as the Serbian forces Nadal to fire high into the stands with a powerful backhand. An ace allows Nadal to level at 15-15, before Djokovic fires wide to leave Nadal ahead. The Spaniard does indeed secure the hold as Djokovic twice fires wide in quick succession.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 3-3* NadalBREAK! Uncharacteristic mistake from Djokovic in the first point as he strokes an easy forehand into the net, but he recovers with a sweeping forehand to move level at 15-15. Nadal regains the lead moments later as Djokovic fires long, but another devastating forehand from the world number one levels it at 30-30. The Serbian eventually then moves ahead as Nadal fires into the crowd, but another deuce follows moments later. Nadal comes out on top, however, following a couple of wild swings from Djokovic.

Djokovic *2-6 6-3 3-4 NadalShift in power once more?! Nadal moves 15-0 ahead as Djokovic nets from inside the baseline, before Djokovic fires long to hand Nadal a two-point lead. The world number one then misses a simple volley to hand his opponent three game points - the second of which is taken as Nadal keeps this one on serve.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 4-4* NadalGood start to the game for Djokovic as his forehand forces Nadal to fire long, before a devastating ace moves the Serbian into a 30-0 lead. Nadal responds to move onto the board moments later, but another wonderful forehand from Djokovic sets up two game points. The Serbian does indeed secure the hold as Nadal nets from just inside the baseline.

Djokovic *2-6 6-3 4-5 NadalStunning tennis from both players in the opening point of the game as Djokovic lobs Nadal with a stunning slice, before Nadal slips at the vital moment to hand his opponent a 0-30 lead. That becomes 0-40 as the Spaniard can only hit the net once more, but Nadal moves onto the board moments later with a powerful forehand, before Djokovic nets following a 21-shot rally. Nadal saves the last of the three break points with an ace to leave the game level at deuce, before holding with a powerful volley.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 4-6* NadalBREAK AND SET! Right out of the top drawer from Djokovic as the Serbian moves 15-0 ahead with a stunning forehand down the line. That becomes 30-0 with another forehand on the rise, but Nadal moves onto the board following a stunning exchange between the top two in men's tennis, before a wayward one from Djokovic leaves the scores level at 30-30. Djokovic then hits the net to hand Nadal set point, which the Spaniard takes to move 2-1 ahead at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic *2-6 6-3 4-6 0-1 NadalStunning start to the fourth set by Djokovic as he whips a forehand down the line to move 0-15 ahead, but he then fires long to hand Nadal his first point of the set. A wayward one from Nadal allows Djokovic to regain the lead moments later, but the Serbian can only hit the net from close range in the next point to leave the scores levels at 30-30. The Serbian does not make the same mistake twice as he sets up break point with a wonderful get moments later, but he then fires long for deuce. Nadal does manage to hold following the second deuce with a powerful smash.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 4-6 0-2* NadalBREAK! It's wild from Djokovic in the opening point as he thumps a volley wide to hand Nadal the lead, before another wild swing leaves the Spaniard 0-30 ahead. That becomes 0-40 in the next point as the world number one nets following good approach work from Nadal. Djokovic saves the first break point with a serve and volley, before the net helps him claw back to 30-40. Nadal does break at the third time of asking, however, with a stunning forehand down the line.

Djokovic *2-6 6-3 4-6 0-3 NadalNadal fires long in the opening point to hand Djokovic the lead, but Djokovic nets moments later to leave the scores level at 15-15. That becomes 30-15 in the next point as Djokovic fires one into the net once more, before a wild swing from the Serbian hands Nadal two game points - the first of which is taken as the Spaniard moves 3-0 ahead in the fourth.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 4-6 1-3* NadalDjokovic blinks first in the opening point as he can only clip a volley wide from close to the net. The Serbian does register in the next point, however, with Nadal firing long following a powerful forehand from the Serbian. That becomes 30-15 in the next point, before Djokovic moves 40-15 ahead with another powerful groundstroke. The hold is secured moments later as Nadal fires wide on the run.

Djokovic *2-6 6-3 4-6 1-4 NadalNadal fires wide in the opening point of the fifth game to leave Djokovic 0-15 ahead, but the Spaniard hits a wonderful passing shot moments later to level the scores. Nadal then moves 30-15 ahead following another sensational exchange, before Djokovic fires long to hand Nadal game point. The Spaniard indeed takes it to move 4-1 ahead in the fourth.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 4-6 1-5* NadalBREAK! Wonderful from Djokovic in the opening point as he comes to the net before placing a volley past Nadal, before the Serbian hits a drop shot to move 30-0 ahead on serve. Nadal responds moments later to move onto the board, before a wild one from Djokovic leaves the scores at 30-30. Djokovic again fires wide moments later to hand a break point to Nadal, who takes the opportunity to move within one game of the title.

Djokovic 2-6 6-3 4-6 1-6 NadalGAME, SET AND MATCH! Stunning start to the game for Djokovic as the Serbian moves ahead with a backhand return, but Nadal levels at 15-15 with a thumping volley moments later. That becomes 30-15 in the next point as Nadal sends Djokovic the wrong way, before Djokovic hits the net to hand two match points to the Spaniard. Nadal takes the first of those as Djokovic smashes the net from just inside the baseline.

1.35amRAFAEL NADAL WINS THE 2013 US OPEN

1.38amStunning, just stunning. And I don't just mean Nadal. Both of these players must take credit for producing one of the best tennis matches that you will ever see. It had absolutely everything. Wonderful scenes inside the stadium as Nadal jumps around the court before exchanging hugs with his corner. Djokovic, however, sits isolated, deep in thought.

1.41amNadal has now won six out of the last seven meetings with Djokovic. The rankings will say that Djokovic is still number one in the world, but surely that will change in the next few months. Nadal is in the best form of his life there is no question about that. Can anyone stop him?

1.44am"I want to congratulate Rafa and his team. He was too good and deserved to win the trophy. It is disappointing to lose a match like this, but it was a huge privilege to be fighting for this trophy," Djokovic has just told the crowd at Flushing Meadows before collecting his trophy.

1.47amMoments later, Nadal added: "I am very emotional obviously. Playing against Novak is also a very special feeling. He is an amazing player and I am sure that he will finish his career as one of the best in the history of the sport." Wonderful moment as the Spaniard is presented with the US Open trophy for the second time.

1.50amSo there we have it. That is just about it from me. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action as Nadal claimed his second US Open title and second Grand Slam of 2013. What a moment for a player who spent a long period on the sidelines in the latter part of last year. Goodbye!

Andy Murray and Roger Federer pose with their trophies after the men's 2008 US Open final.
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