NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic turned up the intensity and outslugged French Open champion Rafa Nadal to win the second set of the U.S. Open men’s final and level the match 2-6 6-3 on Monday.
The top-seeded Serb claimed a rare service break in the sixth game, taking a 4-2 lead by winning an exhausting 54-stroke, battering ram of a rally when he handcuffed Nadal with a backhand to his feet.
Djokovic raised both arms above his head and shook them in triumph to cheers from the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
It was only the second time in the last 89 service games that Nadal had been broken, but that feeling of exultation was short-lived as the Spaniard broke right back in the next game to bring the set back on serve at 4-3.
World number one Djokovic showed his determination by seizing the advantage again in the next game, breaking Nadal with a backhand crosscourt winner and then ending the set on serve in the next game with a backhand winner down the line.
Nadal had taken the upper hand in the U.S. Open men’s final by winning the opening set with ease with a pair of service breaks against the Australian Open winner.
The Spaniard, dashing around the court with speed and ease, played a much cleaner set in windy conditions, making just four unforced errors to 14 by Djokovic in the first set.
Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Frank Pingue