Forget Ronaldo vs Messi; Forget Vettel vs Alonso; Forget Kobe vs LeBron! Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic is the greatest on-going rivalry in sport and the pair proved it with their battle at Flushing Meadows for the US Open crown. Catch all the action as it happened:
06:30 (IST): So the final tennis Major of the year comes to an end and Rafael Nadal caps off an amazing hardcourt season with the US Open title.
06:25 (IST): Rafael Nadal: I'm very emotional. My team knows how much this match means to me. Playing against Novak is always a very special feeling and nobody brings my game to the limit like he does. You (Djokovic) are having an amazing career. I'm sure you will finish your career being one of the best in history.
06:20 (IST): Novak Djokovic: Obviously I want to congratulate Rafa. He was too good and he deserved to win this match and the trophy. Obviously, it's disappointing to lose a match like this. I will definitely be coming back next year. Thanks for all the support.
06:15 (IST): The fourth set proved Nadal's dominance for much of the match and despite Djokovic's best efforts the better man won.
06:05 (IST): Rafael Nadal wins the 2013 US Open men's singles title!
06:00 (IST): Break point for Nadal at 30-40 and he takes a 5-1 lead and Rafael Nadal will serve for the Championship.
05:40 (IST): Nadal breaks! Djokovic is tiring and Nadal can sense the title. A glorious forhand winner gives Nadal the break of serve and he leads 2-0. Nadal holds on to his serve and leads 3-0 with victory in sight.
05:30 (IST): Djokovic now needs this match to go the distance...
05:25 (IST): The crowd are on their feet as the two players challenge each other with lobs and volleys until Nadal wins the point. Djokovic slams into the net to give Nadal a set point. He takes it and Nadal wins the third set 6-4.
05:18 (IST): Nadal trips on the baseline and is 0-40 down. But, he wins three points on the trot and it's deuce. 'Vamos!' screams Nadal's coach and uncle Toni and the Spaniard wins the game. Stuff of a champion there by Nadal. Djokovic to serve at 5-4 down in the third.
05:08 (IST): Nothing to separate the two in the third set. Level at 4-4. Who will break first?
05:03 (IST): A Nadal backhand goes into the crowd and Djokovic follows it up with an equally poor one. Deuce! An unforced error gives Nadal the advantage and he breaks to level the set at 3-3. The Spaniard follows it up with a hold to lead 4-3.
04:50 (IST): David Beckham is shown on the big screen at the Arthur Ashe Stadium and is met by a chorus of whistles. The former England captain played for the LA Galaxy in the Major League Soccer.
04:43 (IST): Nadal struggling here as another service game goes to deuce. A lovely lob guides Nadal towards his first game of the third set. Djokovic leads 2-1 with a break of serve.
04:35 (IST): The match is being played in an emotionally charged-up atmosphere right now. If anyone got a nickle for each time the players pumped their fists...
04:30 (IST): Djokovic breaks! The match has swung and how! After taking the second set at a canter, Djokovic siezes the initiative in the third by breaking Nadal with ease.
04:28 (IST): Surprisingly, Rafael Nadal has yet to hit an ace in this match...
04:23 (IST): Djokovic holds serve to take the second set 6-3. The match is tied at one-set apiece. Another epic on our hands?
04:17 (IST): Djokovic breaks! The Serb clawing his way back as he takes it to the 5th deuce of the game. Djokovic converts a break point and after a ten-minute game will serve for the second set at 5-3.
04:05 (IST): Before a blink of an eye it's 0-40 and Nadal breaks! trailing 3-4 on serve in the second set.
03:53 (IST): Djokovic breaks! A glorious lob on Nadal's serve gives Djokovic a sniff at 15-30. A volley gives the Serb break point at 30-40 and breaks after a 54-shot rally! The crowd are on their feet!
03:53 (IST): Djokovic serves his 3rd ace of the match to take a 3-2 advantage in the second set.
03:45 (IST): During the second game of this set, Nadal complained to the umpire about noises from the crowd; the Spaniard is met by boos from the Flushing Meadows audience. "New Yorkers are sports fans, not necessarily tennis fans," says the on-air commentator.
03:40 (IST): Down 0-30 on serve in the second game, Nadal explodes with a forehand. Djokovic fights back to make it 15-40 but Nadal brings it back to deuce with a crosscourt pass. Djokovic hits a simple return three-feet wide and levels the second set at 1-1.
03:25 (IST): An unforced error from Djokovic gives Nadal the first set 6-2. The Serb needs to find his rhythm and soon.
03:22 (IST): Djokovic has his arms in the air and seems to be pleading with his box after every point. It's early days but the Serb looks second best so far.
03:20 (IST): Nadal breaks! Point of the match so far as Djokovic returns an overhead ball but Nadal manages to create a crosscourt winner. Three points later, Nadal leads 5-2 and will serve for the first set.
03:15 (IST): After a shaky start to the match, both players hold serve comfortably; Nadal leads 4-2 in the first.
03:08 (IST): Yet again a service game goes to deuce but Nadal manages to hold; 3-1 to the Spaniard.
03:00 (IST): Nadal breaks! Djokovic struggling with his serve and Nadal takes a 2-1 lead after a seven-minute game.
02:58 (IST): Surprisingly there are plenty of empty seats at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Must be the infamous New York traffic!
02:52 (IST): Djokovic manages to take Nadal's first service game to deuce, but nets, allowing Nadal to level the first set 1-1.
02:45 (IST): Djokovic holds serve to take the first game with an ace. Very windy conditions in New York.
02:40 (IST): Djokovic gets the early advantage as he wins the toss and opts to serve.
02:35 (IST): The legendary Rod Laver conducts the coin toss and here we go...
02:33 (IST): Novak Djokovic before the match: It's great to be playing the final for the fourth successive year. Nadal is one of the best players in the world.
02:30 (IST): Rafael Nadal before the match: After missing it last year, it's great to be back in the US Open final. Djokovic is a tough opponent and it will be a great battle.
02:17 (IST): On Sunday, Serena Williams beat Victoria Azarenka to win her fifth US Open me's singles crown. While Serena refused to pick a winner between Djokovic and Nadal, Azarenka is backing Nadal after being seduced by the Spaniard's biceps.
02:07 (IST): Both players will have beautiful girlfriends in their box tonight. Nadal will be cheered on by the gorgeous Xisca Perello while Djokovic will be flanked by by the impeccable Jelena Ristic.
02:00 (IST): Half-an-hour to go before the players appear on court. As the excitement is bulding and a lot (a lot!) of people have had their say on the eventual outcome of the come. The top prediction prize has to go to the official ATP website, who shockingly proclaimed Rafael Nadal has the winner! Read more about this amazing story here.
Novak Djokovic didn't have it as easy as his opponent though. A look back at the top seed's path to the final:
SF: bt S Wawrinka 2-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
QF: bt M Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
4th round: bt M Granollers 6-3, 6-0, 6-0
3rd round: bt J Sousa 6-0, 6-2, 6-2
2nd round: bt B Becker 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2
1st round: bt R Berankis 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
A look back at the Road to the Final for Rafael Nadal:
SF: bt Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-2
QF: bt Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-2, 6-2
4th round: bt Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
3rd round: bt Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
2nd round: bt R.D. Da Silva 6-2, 6-1, 6-0
1st round: bt Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
01:35 (IST): Both competitors will be chasing after the number two. Djokovic and Nadal are chasing their second Major of the year, after respective triumphs in Australia and France. They are also chasing their second US Open title, with Nadal having claimed the crown in 2010 and Djokovic following suit a year later.
01:30 (IST): In a career rivalry that began at Roland Garros in 2006, Nadal leads Djokovic 21-15 in head-to-head matches. Rafa has 12 Majors to his credit while Djokovic has exactly half. Nadal has won five of the last six meetings, a stretch which started after Djokovic won their epic 2012 Australian Open final.
01:23 (IST): A word on the rankings; whatever happens in the match tonight, Djokovic will retain his number one slot. What will be interesting to see if Roger Federer remains the best Swiss player in the rankings. A certain Stanislas Wawrinka is waiting in the wings!
01:16 (IST): This encounter at Flushing Meadows will be the 37th time the duo face off against each other. A record will be set even before the match begins as they surpass the 36 times John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl faced each other.
01:13 (IST): But it would be foolish to discount World No.1 Novak Djokovic. The Serb has won the last three finals played on faster courts between the pair - Wimbledon and US Open in 2011 and their epic five hour and 53 minute battle at the 2012 Australian Open. Djoko termed his clash against Nadal as the 'ultimate challenge' as he gears up for his fourth successive final in New York.
01:05 (IST): Despite being the lower ranked of the two, Rafael Nadal is an overwhelming favourite in tonight's title match. Just 12 months ago, the Spaniard was sitting at home nursing an injured knee. However, after his comeback in May this year, Nadal has won the 9 titles on tour including the French Open. His win-loss record stands at a staggering 59-3 with 21 victories on hard courts. It is being said that tears, fears drive on 'Nadal the Merciless'.
01:00 (IST): It's these two yet again! World No.1 Novak Djokovic and World No.2 Rafael Nadal will clash one more time in just over an hours time to determine the winner of the 2013 US Open men's singles title. Get ready for another epic.
Story first published on: Tuesday, 10 September 2013 00:38 IST