Novak Djokovic capped off one of the best single seasons in men’s tennis history on Monday night, capturing his third Grand Slam title of the year by beating Rafa Nadal in four sets.
Djokovic took a commanding two sets to none lead by winning on scores of 6-2 and 6-4 to open the contest. The third set was an epic one, with Nadal breaking Djokovic who was serving for the championship at 6-5. But Nadal forced and eventually won a tiebreaker, bringing the crowd to its feel and putting pressure on the Serbian to wrap things up.
And although heading into the fourth set it appeared that Nadal had all the momentum, the marathon third set proved to take a ton out of Nadal. Djokovic regrouped (utilizing two medical timeouts during the match), and won the final set 6-1. Djokovic improved his 2011 record to 64-2, including six wins over Nadal; he also defeated the Spaniard in the Wimbledon final in July.
The victory was Djokovic’s fourth overall Grand Slam title. He also won the 2008 French Open to go along with this year’s French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles. He became just the sixth player in the Open era to win three Grand Slam events in the same year.