The 33-year-old struggled a bit in the opening two sets as he wasted a two-break lead in both the sets. However, the 18-time Grand Slam champion recovered well to win the set.
The Spaniard then claimed the one-sided third set to close the match in 2 hours and 47 minutes. After the match, a funny thing happened when Nadal distributed the autographed balls to the crowd.
As a tradition at the Flushing Meadows, the winning player distributes the signed balls to the different stands of the stadium which acts as a memento for the spectators. However, Rafael Nadal broke with tradition, when he hit the ball at the commentary box.
Rafael Nadal had already distributed the balls to spectators in the stands at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Spaniard was left with one ball when he changed the script and pointed the ball towards the commentator’s box, where John McEnroe was present.
With his exceptional precision, Nadal put the ball in the hands of ESPN’s rapporteur. There were smiles all around the stadium with John McEnroe amazed by the Spaniard’s precision.
— Reva (@VamosReva) September 5, 2019
Rafael Nadal, who is bidding for his 19th Grand Slam title is the only player left of ATP the top 3 at the US Open 2019 with the defending champion, Novak Djokovic retired due to an injury in the round of 16 and Roger Federer knocked out in the quarterfinals.