Nadal, Clijsters claim top honors in N.Y.

In Sports

Rafael Nadal won his first U.S. Open against Novak Djokvic in four sets, and Kim Clijsters defeated rena Zvonareva in two sets for her second consecutive, the first woman ever to successfully defend the championship at the tournament. Photo courtesy of MCT

Rafael Nadal is in an elite group of tennis champions.

By winning his first U.S. Open title in New York, Nadal has completed a Career Grand Slam, winning the championship at each of tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments. Only six other men have accomplished this in the history of tennis.

Nadal needed four sets to defeat Novak Djokovic in the final, winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

On the final point of the match, Djokovic hit the ball cross-court but missed wide, giving Nadal the championship. Nadal dropped to the court and laid on his stomach, embracing the moment. He rose with a smile on his face as the crowd stood to applaud his masterful performance.
Nadal has won three consecutive Grand Slam events, also winning the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year. He won the Australian Open in 2009.

It has been the U.S. Open, though, that has been the hardest for Nadal to win. Prior to the championship, Nadal had never been in the finals at the U.S. Open.

After hurdling that obstacle by defeating Mikhail Youzhny in the semifinals, Nadal had another opponent to deal with: Mother Nature.
The men’s final was set to take place on Sunday but was postponed until Monday due to rain, the third year in a row the final had been postponed. The match started on schedule on Monday but was again postponed for a few hours due to rain. Nadal was leading Djokovic 6-4, 4-4 when officials decided to stop play.

Once play resumed, Djokovic won the second set. It was the only set Nadal would lose in the entire tournament, going on to win the last two sets.

One of Nadal’s current rivals, Roger Federer, has also completed a Career Grand Slam. Federer lost to Djokovic in the semifinals of the tournament.

Nadal now has nine major titles, the seventh most all time in men’s tennis.

In the women’s draw of the tournament, Kim Clijsters defeated Vera Zvonareva to cruise to her second consecutive U.S. Open title. Clijsters won 6-2, 6-1, making her the first woman to repeat as champion since Venus Williams did in 2000 and 2001.

Clijsters played aggressive against Zvonareva, out hitting her in winners 17-6. Zvonareva was unable to put up much of a challenge against Clijsters, committing 24 unforced errors and only winning three games the entire match.

She defeated No. 1 seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals but was continuously frustrated against Clijsters, smashing her racquet at one point in the match.
“I was trying to find a way to pump myself up,” said Zvonareva after the match to reporters.

Clijsters has won the tournament three times now, also winning in 2005. Clijsters was unable to defend her title in 2006 because of injuries and did not compete in the tournament again until 2009 due to retirement. She has won the U.S. Open the last three times she has competed, compiling a 21 match winning streak.

All three of Clijsters’ major titles have come at the U.S. Open.

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