NEW YORK– In the city that never sleeps, it was the point that threatened never to end as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic fought out an exhausting 54-shot exchange in Monday's US Open final.
With Djokovic leading 3-2 in the second set, after Nadal had clinched the opener, the world's two best players matched each other forehand against forehand and backhand to backhand before the Serb came out on top.
It brought a standing ovation for both men and was just one of a number of brutal exchanges, some of which were over 20 shots.
"I felt really tired after that point, but I said, 'I have the wind in my favor now.' So after this point the opponent will be tired, too, so I'm going to have the chance to break back," said Nadal, who won his second US Open and 13th major title by seeing off Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
"That's what I think in that moment. I had the break back. Then I have 40-15 in the next game to equal the set 4-all, but Novak played amazing and he break me another time.
"But my thinking was positive. I had the break now, but I will have my chance in the next game."
Djokovic, who has now lost four US Open finals, said he was always prepared to match Nadal toe-to-toe.
"I played against Rafa on different surfaces and different occasions and there are points like this where you just feel that there is the last drop of energy that you need to use in order to win the point," he said.
"Sometimes I was winning those points; sometimes him. It's what we do when we play against each other, always pushing each other to the limit. That's the beauty of our matches and our rivalry." AFP