Remember when Rafael Nadal was "finished"?

Without a grand slam title in nearly three years, a wrist injury plaguing his career and ongoing questions over his knee?

That was three years ago and feels more like a lifetime.

Since the start of 2017, Nadal has won five grand slams, the most recent of which was the US Open after an epic five-set victory over Daniil Medvedev in the final in New York on Sunday.

The Spanish great is up to 19 grand slam titles, just one shy of all-time men's record holder Roger Federer, while he pushed three clear of Novak Djokovic.

There was, perhaps rightly, a theory that Federer would have the best longevity of the 'Big Three', his style less reliant on the physicality of Nadal and Djokovic, whose relentlessness and gruelling approach from the baseline led to those suggestions.

But that has thus far proven to be wrong, and it is remarkably Nadal – with a remodelled serve helping his hard-court game this year – who has seriously starred since turning 30.

Federer turned 30 in August 2011, Nadal in June 2016 and Djokovic in May 2017.

In their 30s, Nadal has won five majors compared to four apiece for Federer and Djokovic, a tally few would have predicted and one that seems set to grow.

A battered body looked set to get the better of Nadal, but instead the majors in 2019 have belonged to him.

He finished with two grand slam titles and a 24-2 win-loss record – his best since going an extraordinary 25-1 in 2010.

At 33, there are some signs Nadal may be slowing down, and he unsurprisingly looked tired at times in the incredible clash with Medvedev that lasted almost five hours.

But he is showing he could be the king in the 30s of the 'Big Three', and he sure as anything is not finished yet.

At the end of his third-round match with Feliciano Lopez, Daniil Medvedev's relationship with the US Open fans seemed fractured beyond repair.

Hearing the boos that provided the soundtrack to his post-match on-court interview at Louis Armstrong Stadium after he had directed a middle-finger gesture at the fans following a disagreement with the umpire, it was impossible to believe Medvedev would be talking about leaving his heart out there for the New York crowd.

Yet that is what the Russian felt he had to do as he battled back from two sets down in a captivating five-set defeat to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final.

Medvedev seemed dead and buried in the match when he trailed 3-2 in the third having gone a break down.

The 23-year-old looked a spent force, but immediately responded and fought back magnificently. His name rang round Arthur Ashe Stadium as he recovered to win the third set, and a frenetic thrill ride of a final then swung dramatically in his direction as a punishing return gave him the decisive break in the fourth.

Nadal returned to being the crowd favourite as an enthralling match moved towards a nail-biting conclusion, with Medvedev unable to take advantage of break points at 1-1 and as the Spaniard served out the match.

Though he ultimately fell short in attempting to erase a 5-2 deficit in the decider, Medvedev's incredible effort and fighting spirit saw him definitively win back the affections of the Flushing Meadows public.

Speaking after his 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 loss, Medvedev was asked if he could have imagined having his name chanted by the crowd last week.

He replied: "I was being myself. I was fighting for every point. I think they appreciated it. Being break down in the third, I won the game, and I felt that these guys wanted some more tennis. They were cheering me up like crazy.

"I knew I had to leave my heart out there for them also. For myself first of all, but for them also. I think they saw it and they appreciate it. I'm thankful to them for this.

"The only thing going through my mind at this moment was I have to win next point, I have to win next game. I was not thinking too much, 'Okay, I'm from Russia, I'm in USA, they are cheering my name, what should I do?' No.

"It was a pleasure to be out there tonight. They were sometimes cheering my name, sometimes they were going for Rafa. I think it was just because the arena is so huge, there were so many people cheering both names, it was like changing all the time. I don't think it will be same people cheering two different names from one point to another.

"The atmosphere was the best of my life, I have to say."

Medvedev demonstrated incredible levels of endurance during his four hours, 49 minutes on court.

Asked if he could see himself competing at the same level at 33 years old, as Nadal continues to do, Medvedev said: "I do see myself at 33 years running and competing like Rafael Nadal.

"Although Rafa said it himself, that he changed his game a lot from younger age to be able to compete at the highest level. Maybe I'll have to do the same. This I cannot know."

Daniil Medvedev described Rafael Nadal's 19th grand slam title as "unbelievable" and "outrageous" as he lauded the US Open champion.

Nadal moved within slam trophy of Roger Federer's record men's haul after outlasting Medvedev 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in New York on Sunday.

Contesting his maiden major final, Medvedev was staring at a straight-sets defeat before the fifth seed produced a stunning rally at Flushing Meadows.

But Nadal withstood Medvedev's comeback to prevail after almost five hours on court inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, where fans were brought to their feet in appreciation.

Nadal was reduced to tears after closing in on Federer's grand slam tally and Medvedev heaped praise on the 33-year-old Spaniard afterwards.

"I just want to congratulate Rafa – 19th grand slam title is something unbelievable, outrageous," Medvedev said during the trophy presentation.

"I want to congratulate him and his team, you guys are doing an amazing job, the way you are playing is a big joke, it's very tough to play against you and you know when I was looking on the screen and they were showing number one, number two, number 19, I was like, 'if I would win, what would they show?'

"Again, what you've done for tennis in general I mean, I think 100 million kids watching you play want to play tennis and it's amazing for our sport, thank you and congrats again."

Medvedev – the villain throughout the season's final slam in the Big Apple – emerged from the jaws of defeat to almost pull off one of the greatest comebacks.

After clawing his way from a break down in the third set to prolong the final, Medvedev then saved two match points in the ninth game of the decider before Nadal eventually slumped to the floor in celebration.

Asked how he turned it around, Medvedev replied: "To be honest in my mind I was already [thinking], 'OK, what do I say in the speech? It's going to be soon, in 20 minutes, losing in three sets in the first final, trying to give a fight but not really, so I was like OK, anyway, I have to fight for every ball and I have to see how it goes' and it went far, but unfortunately didn't go my way.

"I want to talk about you guys [the crowd]. I know earlier in the tournament I said something kind of in a bad way and now I'm saying it in a good way, it's because of your energy guys that I was here in the final. Tonight is going to be always in my mind because I played in the biggest court in the tennis world and in the third set where I was already thinking which speech should I give, you guys were pushing me to prolong this match because you want to see more tennis and because of you guys I was fighting like hell.

"As I said, it's electric. You were booing me for a reason, I never said that it was not, but you guys see that I can also change because I'm a human being, I can make mistakes, and again thank you very much from the bottom of my heart."

An emotional Rafael Nadal labelled his epic US Open final win over Daniil Medvedev a "crazy match" after clinching his 19th grand slam title.

Nadal edged Medvedev 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in an extraordinary decider that lasted four hours, 49 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, moving within one of Roger Federer's tally of 20 major titles.

The Spanish great gave up a two-sets-to-love lead and then saw Medvedev rally from 5-2 down before he closed out his fourth US Open title.

Nadal said it was an incredible encounter and he paid tribute to Medvedev, who has the most wins on the ATP Tour this year.

"This victory means a lot, especially the way the match became so difficult, so tough," he said in an on-court interview.

"I was able to hold at the end the nerves because the nerves were so high after having the match almost under control, 5-2, 5-4, break point. It has been a crazy match. I'm just emotional."

Nadal added: "It was an amazing final. It seemed that I had more or less the match under control, but honestly first word I have to say is to Daniil.

"His summer is just one of the best summers I ever saw in this sport since I was playing so, everybody saw why he is the number four player in the world already, only at 23 years old, so many congratulations for everything."

A video was played in Arthur Ashe after the final, with each of Nadal's grand slam titles featured in an emotional tribute.

The 33-year-old, who received multiple time violations during the final, had special thanks for the crowd in New York.

"It has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career," Nadal said.

"With that video, with all the support, all of you guys have been just amazing. Normally, I take it for the last thing but today it's going to be the first thing, thank you very, very much everybody in this stadium, [you] have been amazing energy.

"It's a real pleasure and honour to play in front of all of you in this amazing stadium. I think there is not one stadium that is more energetic than this one so many, many thanks for everything."

Rafael Nadal moved within one of Roger Federer's grand slam tally, edging Daniil Medvedev in an epic US Open final to claim his 19th major title on Sunday.

Nadal was pushed to the limit by first-time grand slam finalist Medvedev in a thrilling decider, eventually prevailing 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 after four hours, 49 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Spanish great secured his second major of 2019 and moved within one of Federer, who holds the all-time men's record for most grand slam titles with 20.

Medvedev, who has the most wins on the ATP Tour this year and has played the role of villain in New York, looked set to cause a momentous upset, only for Nadal to edge through the fifth set.

The 23-year-old Russian won just three games against Nadal in the Rogers Cup final a month ago, yet almost became the second player in history to beat the left-hander after losing the first two sets to the 33-year-old at a grand slam.

The win meant the 'Big Three' of Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic swept the grand slams for the third straight year, a feat they last achieved between 2006 and 2008.

In what was a high-quality start, there was early drama as Nadal produced an around-the-net winner and was given a time violation in the opening game.

The duo then traded breaks, Nadal mishitting a forehand into the bottom of the net to give Medvedev a 2-1 lead, only for the Russian to send a backhand well long to fail to consolidate.

Nadal's pressure – Medvedev fended off three break points in the eighth game and was again tested in the 10th – paid off at the perfect time, landing the break and opening set when his opponent put a backhand volley into the net.

Medvedev recovered from 0-40 to hold for 2-2 in the second set, but there was no denying Nadal in the sixth game, a deep return leading to an error and a break as the second seed took complete control.

Nadal gave up a break lead midway through the third set and Medvedev fought hard – the villain threatening to turn hero as he earned chants from the Arthur Ashe crowd – before spectacularly taking the set with a backhand winner down the line.

Suddenly, it was Medvedev – calm and composed – looking the better of the two players as Nadal seemed to be tiring, a tough hold in the second game of the fourth set coming as the Spaniard tried to fire himself up.

Nadal looked the more likely to break until Medvedev did just that, ripping an incredible backhand return winner down the line to force a fifth set.

Medvedev needed treatment on his thigh before the deciding set, Nadal saving three break points in the second game, including one after a second time violation saw him denied a first serve.

Nadal landed the first break of the final set, ending an incredible point with a backhand cross-court winner to take a 3-2 lead.

Nadal won four straight games before handing a break back following another time violation, this one leading to a double fault, and Medvedev bravely saved two match points in the ninth game.

The topsy-turvy encounter continued as Nadal saved a break point with a big forehand, his fourth US Open title secured when Medvedev sent a return long.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Rafael Nadal [2] bt Daniil Medvedev [5] 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 62/46
Medvedev – 75/57

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 5/5
Medvedev – 14/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/21
Medvedev – 5/15

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal – 58
Medvedev – 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal – 77/52
Medvedev – 65/54

TOTAL POINTS
Nadal – 177
Medvedev – 164

Flushing Meadows is all but empty, the fans that bayed for Bianca Andreescu's demise in the second set have long departed and, in the players' lounge in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the US Open champion is at ease and very much excited.

Andreescu is excited not because she's still revelling in winning her first grand slam title, though that is unquestionably also the case. Instead the 19-year-old is abuzz because she is sat around a table with a group of reporters and has just been asked if she has recommendations for self-help books.

"Where's my phone?!" she enthusiastically shouts. "I have all the books I've read on my phone."

After that extremely modern statement, Andreescu is handed her phone and frantically scrolls through her reading list in search of a book she cannot remember the name of.

"Code of the Extraordinary Mind!" Andreescu exclaims after locating the title of the 2016 work by Vishen Lakhiani.

Lakhiani and various other self-help authors may expect a significant bump in their sales following Andreescu's victory in New York.

There can be fewer greater endorsements than surviving a second-set comeback from Serena Williams in a major final in front of a crowd providing ear-splitting support for the 23-time grand slam champion, who powered back from 5-1 down in the second to level things up at 5-5.

"I couldn't hear myself think at that point," said Andreescu. "I was just in awe of how loud the US Open crowd can get, it was crazy but I was glad I witnessed that because that's what makes this tournament so special.

"At that point you can only try to focus on the things you can control, and that was my attitude towards it and I just kept my composure, which is why I think I dealt with that scenario really well."

The teenager dealt with it impeccably, holding serve to check Williams' momentum before finding huge success with the forehand in the most important game of the match to break the American and become Canada's first grand slam singles champion.

Following such an incredible show of character, motivational speakers and self-help authors all over the globe may be using Andreescu's example to inspire others, with her journey from oft-injured player who failed to qualify for the 2018 US Open to grand slam champion a testament to the power of belief and perseverance.

"In my short career I've been through a lot injury-wise, those moments weren't easy for me because I just kept getting injured," Andreescu explained. "At one point I didn't have much faith in myself but I have an amazing team around me, including my parents. I think my parents are my biggest inspiration and biggest motivation because they've believed in me since day one.

"Without them I wouldn't have gotten through those periods like I did, so I'm truly thankful for that, and also it's part of life going through tough situations like that. It's not always going to be butterflies and rainbows, I just tried to embrace it as much I could.

"I tried to learn different things about myself and just about how I can get better as a player and as a person. I really believed there were gonna be good times ahead because I think when you believe in that, all those tough times are worth it."

Now she has a spectacular reward for getting through those tough times, and Andreescu knows she has nothing to fear having avoided the devastation of defeat after spurning two chances to serve it out against Williams.

Asked if she had come through the most difficult test she will ever face on a tennis court, Andreescu replied: "I think so. Being in the final against Serena Williams and then actually winning it is crazy.

"I've looked up to her and now actually winning the tournament, I've always thought I could but it actually happening is just so crazy.

"I don't think I've lost a match since March so my confidence is just skyrocketing right now, I just don't want to take anything for granted because there's gonna be weeks where you're going to lose, so right now I'm on cloud nine and hopefully I can just keep the momentum going.

"When I play my game nobody really likes that because I play a lot different than other players on tour, I like to change up the rhythm and I've always been like that, so I just kept improving it, that's what I've been doing this whole year and I think that's why I've been doing really well.

"I've always had a lot of tools in my toolbox, but the goal for me now is to choose the right shots to hit at the right times."

That is a scary sentence for the rest of the WTA Tour to read. Self-help books, her parents and her own focus and belief helped Andreescu hone the tool that was most important on Saturday, her fortitude. Once she fine-tunes the rest of her significant arsenal, Andreescu's rivals will need all the help they can get to stop her becoming the dominant force in the women's game.

Patrick Mouratoglou insists Serena Williams will not give up hope of matching Margaret's Court grand slam record after her US Open defeat to Bianca Andreescu.

Williams lost 6-3 7-5 to 19-year-old Andreescu at Flushing Meadows - her fourth successive defeat in grand slam finals.

The 37-year-old last won a slam final in January 2017 and remains one shy of Australian Court's haul of 24 major triumphs.

Coach Mouratoglou has come to Williams' defence and is adamant there should be no doubting her desire.

"Sport can be ruthless," Mouratoglou wrote in a message posted on his official Twitter account.

"You always have the choice to look at the glass half full or half empty. Serena has lost the last four grand slam finals but she has also reached four grand slam finals not even two years after becoming a mother, being almost 38 years old.

"This is an incredible achievement even though the goal is to win tournaments. I am so proud of her and what she is able to achieve.

"Now there is always the option to give up, advised by those who let their frustration rule their opinions.

"The other option is to continue the fight for winning other majors. It is a deep plan to work so hard, give it your all and fail.

"One quality of a champion is to never give up, whatever they go through, until they reach their goal. Serena is the ultimate champion. Sport can be ruthless, but that is also why we love it."

For a spell in the second set, Williams took the initiative against Andreescu, who let a 5-1 lead and championship point slip away.

However, the youngster regained her composure to claim a maiden title at the highest level in her first grand slam final.

For even the most casual tennis observer, the term 'Next Gen' has been an impossible one to avoid in recent years.

The ATP has been relentless in promoting its Next Generation, the best singles players on the tour aged 21 and under. It created a Next Generation ATP Finals in 2017, but the argument that there actually is a new group of stars ready to assume the mantle from three of the greatest of all time will not gain credence until the trio's run of grand slam dominance is brought to a halt.

Not since Stan Wawrinka's triumph at the 2016 US Open has anyone other than Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer lifted a grand slam trophy, with Dominic Thiem's two defeats to the Spaniard the closest any of the supposed heir apparents have come to ending that run.

However, the idea there is life after the 'Big Three' could gain significant steam when the US Open comes to an end on Sunday, when one former Next Gen ATP finals participant contests the final with Nadal having been the story of the men's draw at Flushing Meadows.

As Djokovic and Federer suffered, by their incredible standards, early exits and Nadal motored his way through the draw, Daniil Medvedev has stolen the limelight.

Much of the attention he has received has come off the back of his controversial third-round match with Feliciano Lopez, in which he was seen to show a middle-finger to the crowd amid a disagreement with the umpire, making him public enemy number one, a role he accepted with relish.

Yet all the hype around the boos and the joy he has taken in receiving them has helped bring the quality of his game into focus.

A third-place finisher in the inaugural Next Gen Finals, Medvedev has demonstrated extraordinary defence, excellent movement, a strong serve and enough power to live with any player on tour.

Unbeaten in 11 matches, the world number five also displayed an ability to adapt his game to the situation, his performance on one good leg against Wawrinka, in which he worked the Swiss around the court with the drop shot and lob, among the finest of any seen in the men's draw in 2019.

That showing, and his subsequent straight-sets defeat of Grigor Dimitrov, will have raised hope that Medvedev is good enough to beat Nadal, even with the 18-time major champion appearing invincible in New York.

Should that prove to be the case, the continual disappointments of the likes of Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be forgotten.

Yet the only history Nadal and Medvedev have together is not on the Russian's side.

Medvedev's last defeat came on a hard court against Nadal, who crushed him 6-3 6-0 in the final of the Rogers Cup. Nadal, for his part, does not read too much into that going into a contest with a player whose 50 match wins is the most on the ATP Tour this year.

"Of course, [it] helps a little bit. But honestly, I think he's making the steps forward every single day," Nadal said at a media conference. "I will face the player who has won more matches this year, and the player who is playing at the highest level for a while."

It is a final defined by a fascinating narrative, the world's in-form player against an all-time great, bidding to keep the 'big three' streak alive at a tournament where the defeats and injuries suffered by Djokovic and Federer has made the era seem closer to its end than ever before.

Nadal, though, is not motivated by thoughts of keeping their superiority intact.

"We don't need to hold this era anymore," said Nadal. "We have been here for 15 years almost. [It's] going to happen sooner than later that this era is going to end. It's arriving.

"I am 33. Novak is 32. Roger is 38. Andy [Murray] is 32, too. The clock is not stopping. That's part of the cycle of life.

"I'm not worried about this because in tennis there is always going to be great champions."

There will always be great champions but, if Medvedev becomes one in New York, it will be the clearest sign yet that the ATP's 'Next Generation' is finally becoming its present.

The US Open women's singles final delivered once again as a fascinating spectacle ended with an emerging star defeating arguably the greatest player to pick up a racquet.

Bianca Andreescu won her first grand slam title in her first main draw appearance at the US Open by denying Serena Williams a record-tying 24th major.

Andreescu claimed victory despite a furious comeback from Williams in a second set in which a deafening crowd attempted to will the American into forcing a decider.

There was a clear indicator of how much support Williams would have during her practice session prior to the showpiece.

Omnisport's man on the ground, Nicholas McGee, provides the details in our daily diary from New York.

 

FAN SOBS AT SERENA PRACTICE

Just a few hours before her clash with Andreescu, Williams took to the practice courts, briefly greeting men's finalist Rafael Nadal as he walked off following the end of his session.

The mere sight of the 23-time grand slam champion was too much to handle for one fan, who immediately began sobbing upon spotting the 37-year-old.

Unfortunately for Serena and her fans, it was to be a day that ended in tears.

MUTED CELEBRATIONS FOR MURRAY

Jamie Murray and Bethanie Mattek-Sands successfully defended their mixed doubles title, defeating top seeds Michael Venus and Chan Hao-ching in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

There were no plans for major celebrations, however, with Mattek-Sands telling a media conference: "I'm making him drink some champagne out of the trophy, we're having some pizza. But he's leaving. It's not like we're partying till 4 a.m. tonight.

"Next time."

"Yeah, next year," Murray replied.

SYLVAIN SHARES THE GLORY

The Andreescu team was able to celebrate winning two trophies as, at an emotional ceremony after her media conference, the Canadian's coach Sylvain Bruneau was also presented with one.

Bruneau initially held the trophy the wrong way and apologised, joking: "I'm not used to holding trophies."

Andreescu's response perfectly encapsulated her remarkable confidence. "Well get used to it," said the champion.

On the evidence of Saturday, Bruneau can indeed look forward to watching his protege secure many more major titles.

Winning grand slams, and not the pursuit of Margaret Court's record, is the focus for Serena Williams after she again missed out on a major title at the US Open.

The 23-time grand slam champion suffered her fourth defeat in four major finals since returning to the tour after giving birth to her daughter as she was beaten 6-3 7-5 by teenager Bianca Andreescu at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.

It means she remains behind Court's record tally of 24, with many sure to question how many more opportunities the American will have to potentially surpass that mark and definitively secure her status as the greatest of all time.

However, speaking in a post-match media conference, Williams indicated the thought of overtaking Court has not been on her mind.

The 37-year-old said: "I'm not necessarily chasing a record. I'm just trying to win grand slams.

"It's definitely frustrating, you know. But for the most part I just am still here. I'm still doing what I can do."

Asked if the losses have become easier to accept, Williams replied: "Absolutely not. I definitely can say that I'm not really happy, but I have to, like, take it one moment at a time.

"I honestly didn't play my best. I could have played better. That's the only solace that I can take right now."

It will be a familiar scenario for Rafael Nadal when he faces Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final on Sunday.

Nadal will be taking on a first-time grand slam finalist for the third successive year.

Six of Nadal's previous 26 major finals have been against debutants in that arena and the Spaniard has predictably dominated such matchups.

Here we look back at the 18-time grand slam champion's record against first-timers ahead of what should be an intriguing battle with Medvedev.

 

2005 French Open v Mariano Puerta: Won 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1 7-5

Nadal's first major final saw him battle another debutant in Mariano Puerta at Roland Garros. The Argentinian took the first set in a tie-break but Nadal dominated from there to complete a 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1 7-5 win.

It would mark the start of nine French Open wins in 10 years as Nadal solidified his reputation as the King of Clay. Puerta, meanwhile, received a second suspension for a doping offence and never returned to such a stage.

2010 Wimbledon v Tomas Berdych: Won 6-3 7-5 6-4

Two years after he won arguably the greatest ever final at the All England Club by beating Roger Federer in five sets, Nadal enjoyed a much more serene victory in what still stands as Berdych's sole major final.

Nadal saw off Andy Murray in the semi-finals while Berdych had stunningly beaten Federer and then Novak Djokovic to progress to the final. However, he ran out of steam against Nadal in routine fashion.

2013 French Open v David Ferrer: Won 6-3 6-2 6-3

Nadal had to come through an epic five-setter with Djokovic in the last four to reach the final but still had far too much for his compatriot, losing just eight games across three sets.

The victory secured his eighth French Open title but he would have to wait four more years for La Decima.

2014 Australian Open v Stan Wawrinka: Lost 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3

Wawrinka had fallen just short in his previous grand slam, losing in the semi-finals at the 2013 US Open, but the Swiss was inspired in Melbourne as he defeated Djokovic in five sets in the quarter-finals and needed under two and a half hours to see off Nadal.

The Spaniard did win the third set to suggest a comeback was on the cards, but this was Wawrinka's day and he served the fourth out to win the first of three major titles.

2017 US Open v Kevin Anderson: Won 6-3 6-3 6-4

Nadal enjoyed a remarkable 2017, reaching three major finals after many thought his days of contending for slams were over.

He lost a five-set thriller to Federer in Australia before completing La Decima against Wawrinka in Paris.

A stunning year was rounded off in New York as the absence of Djokovic and Murray and Federer's quarter-final exit opened up the draw, with surprise package Anderson the beneficiary.

Nadal made light work of the big-serving South African, though, and faces another player who profited from an open draw on Sunday. Medvedev, however, promises to present a much stiffer challenge.

2018 French Open v Dominic Thiem: Won 6-4 6-3 6-2

The first of two meetings with the Austrian in the decider at Roland Garros was much more one-sided than the second, though he still needed two hours and 42 minutes to see off Thiem.

Thiem took a set off Nadal a year later in a rematch, indicating the possible start of an intriguing clay-court rivalry in the coming years.

If his performances at Flushing Meadows are any evidence, Nadal should see plenty more of Medvedev in the latter stages of his career.

The other side of the net from Serena Williams at the US Open is a lonely place.

It's extremely lonely when you are in the final and have just spurned two chances to serve out to win a grand slam, with a packed crowd bursting for you to collapse in the biggest match of your career.

That was the challenge 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu faced at Flushing Meadows on Saturday, and at that point it looked very much as if the vast majority of the fans inside Arthur Ashe Stadium were going to get their wish.

For Williams has broken the hearts of so many opponents throughout her glorious career that has encompassed 23 grand slam titles. Her resilience and remarkable ability to come back from the death have been the defining features of the greatest Open Era career in professional tennis.

As Andreescu stuck her fingers in her ears in a vain attempt to drown out deafening noise that greeted Williams going 40-0 up on the Canadian's serve to cut a 5-1 deficit to 5-4, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone inside the planet's largest tennis stadium that did not believe a history-making comeback was about to be made.

It didn't matter that Williams had been completely outplayed for a set and a half. It didn't matter that she had served pitifully for the vast majority of the match. All that mattered was who had the momentum, and it was firmly in the possession of the player who has long since made the most devastating use of it.

With this contest featuring the largest age gap between grand slam finalists in the Open Era, the odds were firmly on Williams using her experience and riding the tidal wave building against an opponent who appeared increasingly powerless to stop it.

Williams' long history of completing spectacular turnarounds may have seemed key at that moment. However, it was Andreescu's recent history of thriving in pressure situations and closing out matches that ultimately proved instructive in her incredible 6-3 7-5 triumph.

Andreescu came into the final having not lost a completed match since March and won all of her seven previous encounters with top-10 opponents. Her prior three matches at the US Open had seen her survive a second-set blip against Taylor Townsend, come from a set down to defeat Elise Mertens and recover from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to claim victory over Belinda Bencic in the semi-final.

Even at her tender age, Andreescu is battle hardened and she proved it once again, rediscovering her composure and her confidence on serve to hold, and finding her fierce forehand in the subsequent game as the teenager chose not to settle for the tie-break, but to go on the attack.

Had she done otherwise and lost the tie-break, the odds would have been firmly in favour of Williams going on to win the decider and a historic title in handsome fashion.

Instead it was Williams who cracked in the most crucial juncture of a match, as a forehand winner saw Andreescu complete one of the most unpredictable championship runs of recent memory in her main draw debut.

It leaves Williams facing a hard truth. The other side of the net from her is a lonely place, but it's one an increasing number of her rivals are becoming more comfortable in.

Williams understandably does not put much stock in her 2018 Wimbledon final defeat to Angelique Kerber, given it came less than a year after she gave birth to her daughter. 

There is a lot of weight, though, in the three major final losses that have followed. Naomi Osaka rose to the occasion on the same stage as Andreescu 12 months ago, and Williams was dismantled by Simona Halep at the All England Club in July.

Against Andreescu she was a comfortable second best for all but four games and, when it came time for her to deliver the blows that would change the course of the contest for good, she found her opponent more ready to seize the opportunity and the title.

Williams conceded in her post-match media conference that she did not believe Serena showed up.

She will be 38 by the time she has another chance to "show up" at the Australian Open and, with Osaka, Andreescu and an ever expanding cast of determined young women showing no fear in facing her, it is fair to question whether it will even make a difference if she does.

As the enormity of what she had achieved washed over her, Bianca Andreescu finally gave in to her emotions.

The 19-year-old Canadian has been the definition of composure, laser focused on one goal – winning her first grand slam title at the US Open in her main draw debut.

However, having achieved that dream by stunning Serena Williams and denying the American great a record-tying 24th grand slam with a 6-3 7-5 victory at Flushing Meadows, she allowed that composure to slip.

Andreescu sank to the court in what looked to be a combination of relief, disbelief and exhaustion after completing her triumph and in her post-match media conference she broke down while reflecting on what the success meant to her.

Asked how she visualised the match going, a tearful Andreescu replied: "This wasn't the only time I visualised playing in the finals actually against Serena Williams. It's so crazy, man.

"I've been dreaming of this moment for the longest time. Like I said after I won the Orange Bowl [at age 15], a couple months after, I really believed that I could be at this stage.

"Since then, honestly I've been visualising it almost every single day.

"For it to become a reality is just so crazy. I guess these visualisations really, really work."

Andreescu conceded she did start to doubt herself as Williams, backed by a deafening crowd desperate for her to tie the record, roared back from 5-1 down to level the second set at 5-5, a fightback she was in no way surprised by.

"I had some doubts because I've witnessed her come back from being 5-0 down, 5-1 down, 5-2 down. I just told myself to stick with my tactics," added Andreescu.

"She started playing much better. I think the crowd really helped her, as well.

"I was blocking out the noise, or trying to. I could barely hear myself think really. It was really, really loud. But I guess that's what makes this tournament so special.

"It definitely wasn't easy, especially when she started coming back in the second set. I mean, it was expected. She's a champion. That's what champions do. She's done that many, many times throughout her career.

"But I just tried to stay as composed as I could. It's hard to just block everything out, but I think I did a pretty good job at that."

Bianca Andreescu claimed the biggest win of her career on Saturday, but the teenager's US Open triumph was just her latest over a top-10 player.

The 19-year-old Canadian beat Serena Williams in straight sets at Arthur Ashe Stadium for her first grand slam title.

Andreescu now holds an 8-0 record over top-10 players in her career, with each of those wins coming in 2019, showcasing her ability to step up against the best.

Omnisport takes a look at the teenager's top-10 wins.

2019 Auckland Open: defeated Caroline Wozniacki (1) 6-4 6-4

A qualifier facing the top seed, Andreescu stunned Wozniacki in Auckland in January. She was ranked 152nd in the world at the time.

2019 Indian Wells Open: defeated Elina Svitolina (6) 6-3 2-6 6-4

Andreescu put together a fine run on her way to a first WTA Tour title at Indian Wells, including saving nine of 10 break points in the final set in a semi-final win over Svitolina.

2019 Indian Wells Open: defeated Angelique Kerber (8) 6-4 3-6 6-4

A wildcard, Andreescu joined Williams (1999), Kim Clijsters (2005) and Naomi Osaka (2018) as the only unseeded champions at Indian Wells.

2019 Miami Open: defeated Angelique Kerber (8) 6-4 4-6 6-1

Less than a week after beating Kerber in the final at Indian Wells, Andreescu repeated the feat in Miami.

2019 Rogers Cup: defeated Kiki Bertens (5) 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 6-4

Andreescu's run in Toronto surely sparked hopes she could contend at Flushing Meadows, beginning with her last-16 victory over Bertens.

2019 Rogers Cup: defeated Karolina Pliskova (3) 6-0 2-6 6-4

Andreescu made it four straight three-set wins by overcoming Pliskova, again delivering in a key moment by breaking decisively in the ninth game of the decider.

2019 Rogers Cup: defeated Serena Williams (8) 3-1 ret.

It may not have been the way she wanted to win a title at home, but Andreescu was ahead in the final when Williams retired due to a back injury.

2019 US Open: defeated Serena Williams 6-3 7-5

She got another chance in New York and delivered an impressive display in front of a raucous crowd supporting the American great. After taking the first set, Andreescu saw Williams come from 5-1 down in the second, only to steady and close out her maiden major success.

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