10:10 p.m. | NADAL WINS THE U.S. OPEN 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2: With flashbulbs lighting the night sky, the moment finally came at 10:02 p.m. ET. Djokovic hit a forehand wide, and Nadal collapsed to the ground in joy. He walked around Ashe Stadium with his arms aloft, knowing what he had just done. The match took 3 hours and 43 minutes. "This is more than I dreamed," Nadal said. Nadal is the third-youngest man (at 24 years, 101 days) to complete the career Grand Slam and the seventh man in history to pull off the remarkable feat, joining Andre Agassi, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, and Fred Perry in having won U.S., French and Australian Opens and Wimbledon titles. It is Nadal's ninth Grand Slam singles title and the championship cements him as one of the sport's all-time greats. Let the debate begin about Nadal's place in history. It is near the top.
NEW YORK -- Winds from the northwest, as fierce as a Rafael Nadal forehand, registered gusts as high as 31 mph. Napkins soared above the court as if they were butterflies, and so chilly was the air at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night that much of the gentry was forced to pile blue blankets over the latest fashions from Ralph Lauren and Prada Sport.
The late days of a Grand Slam tournament are, of course, money time. They tell us who will be pro tennis' next trendsetter or conversation-starter, who will matter in the long run, who will be remembered as great. The late days are when one-namers -- all those Rogers and Rafas and Marias and Kims -- are created, when the faces hawking next year's rackets and outfits first come into focus, when the sport most seems like a tiny club of special beings. The late days are for royalty. They're what history remembers.
For years, fans have fantasized about a Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal matchup in the U.S. Open final. Their historically compelling rivalry has taken them all over the world, from Centre Court to Roland Garros to the palaces of Shanghai and Monte Carlo, but never Flushing Meadows, where's the year's final proclamations are made.