Rafael Nadal wins the U.S. Open in Oakmont

Rafael Nadal drops first set but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open

Tiger Woods finds a way to win despite bogeys on the final two holes of the United States Open in Oakmont, Calif. (Raj Chetty / The Associated Press)

Rafael Nadal dropped his first set at the U.S. Open by defeating Novak Djokovic in three hours, 37 minutes, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 in his fourth consecutive win here, and the Spaniard also added a tiebreaker to extend his 16-2 start in his career against Djokovic.

Djokovic was a little rusty going into the match, having been unable to play because of a wrist injury. It was his third straight year missing the year-end championships. He was only able to win his last four matches in a row, and lost them all, including a stunning upset of Roger Federer in the year-end tournament.

“I’m always playing in the U.S. Open,” said Nadal, whose career-best 16 Grand Slam titles also makes him only the second man to win a record 16 major titles. “I have no complaints.”

Djokovic had a similar storyline as the two played a back-to-back match since Wimbledon: a win in the first round and then a loss in the second round.

“I’m not a person that can go out and lose in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament,” he said. “I’m very grateful for the way the guys played. A little bit of luck, that’s all I can say. I’m happy with the win, even if it wasn’t the easiest, just because it’s the only one I needed to get that way.”

Djokovic never recovered his serve in this match and went through nearly every shot. Nadal was able to capitalize on his service breaks and his serve with a couple break points and a volley. He saved a match-winning set point with a drop shot on No. 12, and when he hit into a forehand at 18, Nadal was a little worried Djokovic will make his comeback in the next round.

The final set was one of the match’s highpoints.

Nadal broke Djokovic at 4-5 in the third game to get his first

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