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Rafael Nadal locks up sweet 16th grand slam title with victory over Kevin Anderson

Rafael Nadal

New York: Rafael Nadal has steamrolled his way to an incredible 16th grand slam title with a dominant straight sets win over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.

The final shaped up as quite a mismatch – and that’s exactly what it was.

The 31-year-old Spaniard claimed his third US Open title with a straightforward 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Nadal, who captured a 10th French Open in June and was runner-up to Roger Federer at the Australian Open in January, was rarely troubled in the two-hour-and-27-minute demolition.

Among men, only longtime rival Federer has more grand slam titles, with 19.

At world No.32, Anderson was the lowest-ranked US Open men’s finalist since the ATP computer rankings began in 1973.

The 31-year-old South African never had been past the quarter-finals at any major tournament in 33 previous appearances, so when he won his semi-final on Friday, he climbed into the stands to celebrate.

Nadal’s career haul also includes two trophies from Wimbledon and one from the Australian Open. All of his big victories have come while being coached by his uncle, Toni, who is now stepping aside. The US Open was the last grand slam event of their partnership.

Not since Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2000 had a man won a major tournament without facing any opponents ranked in the top 20.

Each of those two longtime rivals won two of the four majors in 2017, marking a return of both to the heights of their sport.

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