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Lucky No. 13: Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic in 4 sets at US Open for his 13th Grand Slam title. A year after sitting ...
on the US Open with an injury, Nadal showed the world he is back and better than ever. (Sept. 10)
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OLV SHOTLISTAP Television - AP clients onlyNew York - 9 September 20131. Mid of people cheering from outside stadium as Nadal wins2. SOUNDBITE (English) Rafael Nadal, 2013 US Open Champion:"This season is probably the most emotional one in my career. I felt like I did everything right to have my chance here. You play one match against one of best player of history, is Novak. He's #1 in the world. On probably his favorite surface so I know I have to be almost perfect to win."3. SOUNDBITE (English) Novak Djokovic, 2013 US Open runner-up:"It's all my fault, I made some unforced errors at crucial moments with forehands. Dropped the serve twice when I should not have. Next thing you know it is two sets to one for him. He started playing much much better after that. I obviously could not recover after that loss."4. SOUNDBITE (English) Rafael Nadal, 2013 US Open Champion:"I never thought that something like this could happen. I was just excited to be back on tour, trying to be competitive, but never thought about competing for all what I competed for this year. All the Masters 1000s, 2 grand slams of 3. So it is just more than I dreamed for me and very happy. I feel very lucky."5. SOUNDBITE (English) Novak Djokovic, 2013 US Open runner-up:"At the end of the day I have to be satisfied with the final even though I would love to win this match tonight. But it was obvious that in the important moments he played better tennis and that why he deserved to win, so I congratulate him and I move on."6. SOUNDBITE (English) Barbara Kenas, Nadal Fan:"He came through for us, he was great. He was great."7. Tight of US Open trophySTORYLINE:Last year Rafael Nadal watched the Flushing Meadows title match on TV at home with a bad left knee. Monday he is fit as can be _ and, just maybe, better than ever. The No. 2-ranked Nadal emerged with his 13th Grand Slam title, and second at the U.S. Open, by withstanding No. 1 Djokovic's similar brand of hustle-to-every-ball style and pulling away Monday to a tense, taut 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. "This season is probably the most emotional one in my career. I felt that I did everything right to have my chance here," said Nadal, who dropped to the court and rolled over on his stomach, crying, after the last point. "I have to be almost perfect to win."Hard to believe this is the same Nadal who missed seven months with a knee injury, but was able to cover every inch of the court, tracking down shot after shot from Djokovic.Hard to believe this is the guy who used to be considered a clay-court specialist, but is 22-0 on hard courts in 2013.He and Djokovic started in sunlight and finished at night, a 3-hour, 21-minute miniseries of cliffhangers and plot twists with a pair of protagonists who inspired standing ovations in the middle of games. There was no quit in either of them, during points that lasted 15, 25, even more than 50 strokes. "It's all my fault, I made some unforced errors at crucial moments with forehands. Dropped the serve twice when I should not have. Next thing you know it is two sets to one for him. He started playing much much better after that. I obviously could not recover after that loss," said Djokovic.At the outset, Djokovic was his own worst enemy on many points, a touch or two off the mark. Nadal claimed 12 of the last 14 points in the first set, with Djokovic looking almost bored.The world saw this sort of listless, lackluster Djokovic two months ago in the final at Wimbledon, where Nadal had exited a Grand Slam tournament in the opening round for the only time in his career. That time, Djokovic went through a difficult semifinal _ at 4:43, the longest in Wimbledon history _ and barely put up much resistance in a straight-set loss to Andy Murray two days later.In New York, Djokovic was coming off another four-hour semifinal victory, and the key stat in the first set Monday was that he made 14 unforced errors, 10 more than Nadal."At the end of the day I have to be satisfied with the final even though I would love to win this match tonight. But it was obvious that in the important moments he played better tennis and that why he deserved to win, so I congratulate him and I move on," said Djokovic.The final momentum shift came with Nadal serving at 4-all in the third set. Djokovic earned three break points, thanks in part to a tremendous lob-volley and another point when Nadal slipped and tumbled to his backside.But a quick forehand winner by Nadal, a forehand into the net by Djokovic on a 22-stroke point, and a 125 mph ace _ Nadal's only one of the evening, it drew shouts of "Vamos!" from Uncle Toni _ helped avoid another break."I didn't do anything I felt (was) wrong in these few points," Djokovic said. "He didn't make a mistake." In the very next game, Nadal broke Djokovic's serve and, apparently, his will. When that set ended with Djokovic pushing a forehand long on a 19-shot point, Nadal screamed as he knelt down at the baseline, his racket on the court and his left fist pumping over and over and over. Djokovic made one last serious stand, holding break points in the fourth set's first game, but Nadal saved those, then immediately broke to go ahead 2-0.Once again, Nadal withstood Djokovic's best and was on his way to another Grand Slam celebration.(****END****)