New York: Novak Djokovic defeated defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 6-1 to win the US Open, his third Grand Slam title of the year in an epic final.
The world number one Serb, who had already won the Australian Open before defeating Nadal at Wimbledon, racked up his 64th win on Monday.
But having been just two points from the title in the 12th game of the third set, his dreams were almost shattered when he dropped the set on a tiebreaker and needed a medical time-out on a strained back muscle.
Victory represented the top-seeded, 24-year-old’s fourth career Grand Slam trophy after making his breakthrough at the 2008 Australian Open.
Nadal a 10-time Grand Slam title winner slumped to his sixth defeat in six meetings in 2011 against Djokovic.
“US Open. It sounds unreal,” said Djokovic, who had to save two match points to beat Roger Federer in a five-set semi-final.
“It’s an incredible feeling. I’ve had an amazing year. To play Rafael is always a great challenge and I hope we have many more tough matches in the years to come,” he added.
Nadal, who faced 26 break points and was out-hit in winners with his 32 lagging behind the champion’s 55, said he is determined to eventually overturn his losing run at the hands of Djokovic.