Rafael Nadal's epic 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Daniil Medvedev after four hours and 50 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium secured the Spaniard his fourth US Open crown. The win left him one shy of the Open era record of five titles belonging to long-time rival Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors.
Victory on Sunday moved Nadal to within one Grand Slam title of Federer, who, at 38, is more than four years older, but the Spaniard downplayed the importance of catching the Swiss legend.
But it was not an instant connection between Nadal, his notoriously suspect knees, and the year's final Grand Slam tournament.
"I think at the beginning of my career have been some tough moments here, losing matches," said Nadal, who failed to reach a single semi-final in his first five trips to the US Open.
During that span, Nadal would claim at least one singles title at the other three majors, but it was not until his eighth visit to Flushing Meadows that he would get his hands on an elusive US Open trophy.
Nadal's Grand Slam CV boasts 12 French Opens, four US Open titles, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open. His 2008 Wimbledon final triumph over Federer is widely regarded as the greatest-ever final at the majors.
Along with Federer and Novak Djokovic, the other member of tennis' "Big Three", Nadal has comfortably passed the 100 million prize money barrier.