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While women's tennis produced three first-time grand slam winners, this season the old guard continues to reign supreme in the men's game with Nadal and longtime rival Roger Federer sweeping the majors with two apiece.
It marked the fourth US Open final and third title for Nadal but the first time that he did not have Novak Djokovic standing on the other side of the net.
The world No 1 was as brilliant as he was business-like keeping the towering South African under constant pressure while not facing a single break point.
For journeyman Anderson, a grand slam breakthrough was not to be, his booming serve having no impact while Nadal delivered a near-perfect performance for a sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium committing just 11 unforced errors.