US Open 2017: Ruthless Rafa Nadal hammers Kevin Anderson in straight sets
Rafael Nadal ruthlessly dispatched Kevin Anderson in straight sets 6-3 6-3 6-4 to lift the US Open title for the third time on Sunday.
Nadal, the new world number one, was the favourite coming into the tournament and he benefited from shock defeats and injuries for most of his main rivals.
And he rarely looked troubled, despite often dropping the first set in his matches at Flushing Meadows, and he clearly benefited from not having to play a single player in the top 20.
There was no repeat of that against Anderson and as was the case in Paris earlier this year, where he hammered Stan Wawrinka, it was all too easy for Nadal in the final.
Anderson set up his defence and dug deep in the opening few games, with the first four taking over half an hour, but once Nadal found the break that was it.
The Spaniard kicked into gear in the second as he treated Anderson’s serves with the respect they deserved, but moved quickly along the baseline to find chinks in his opponent’s armour.
By the third set Anderson was struggling, having had to overcome some epic matches on his way to the final, and Nadal was in no mood to let up.
Anderson, roaring at pretty much every point he won, did his best to delay the inevitable, including producing his first hold to love, but Nadal kept his cool and made sure he served out to secure victory with the Spaniard losing just 15 points on serve in the match and not facing a single break point.
Having lost to Roger Federer at the Australian Open, and seen his great rival win at Wimbledon, Nadal wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to win his 16th Grand Slam and close the gap once more.
Nadal has once again closed to within three of Federer's all-time record of 19 slam singles titles, while the 'big four' of Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, can now lay claim to 46 of the last 51.
He will end the year as the world number one in what has been a remarkable comeback that he has seen both he and Federer restore their dominance over the sport.
The pair are the top two ranked players in the world for the first time since March 2011.