Commentary

Djokovic wins point of the tournament

World No. 1 loses the match but brings crowd to its feet with incredible rally

Updated: September 9, 2013, 11:39 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- When people look back on Rafael Nadal's championship match at the 2013 US Open men's final, they are going to remember a point won by Novak Djokovic before the 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 Nadal victory.

Nadal won the first set and was serving down 3-2 in the second. No. 2 seed Nadal was playing well, but top-seeded Djokovic had just hit the turbo button and was up 30-40 -- with a break point -- on Nadal's serve.

And that's when the point of the match -- and perhaps the entire tournament -- ensued, a 54-stroke rally that Djokovic won to solidify the break. All told, Djokovic hit a backhand service return, 13 forehands and 13 backhands in the baseline rally, while Nadal served, had nine forehands and 17 backhands before sending his last backhand into the net.

"I played especially against Rafa on different surfaces and different occasions 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," Djokovic said.

During the 54-point rally, Nadal tried to push Djokovic from side to side, while Djokovic played incredible defense at the margins and tried to hammer at Nadal's backhand in response.

After the conclusion of the point, the crowd was on its feet, giving both an extended standing ovation in the aftermath.

"I felt really tired after that point," Nadal said. "But I said, I have the wind on my favor now. I lose that game even I had the wind on my favor. So after this point the opponent will be tired too, so it's my moment to be strong, and I'm gonna have the chance to break back."

Nadal did break back on Djokovic's next service game, even though the Serbian ultimately won the second set.

"It's what we do when we play against each other, always pushing each other to the limit," Djokovic said. "That's the beauty of our matches and our rivalry, I guess, in the end."

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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