Nadal's bizarre disappearing act in US Open final

Non-tennis fans would have been forgiven for thinking Kevin Anderson didn't have an opponent during stages of the US Open final.

Rafael Nadal was far too good for his South African opponent on Monday morning, easing to his third US Open title and 16th grand slam title.

Anderson had stormed into his maiden final on the back of his massive first serve, but Nadal found an interesting way to combat that weapon in the final.

At times during Anderson's service games Nadal retreated well behind the baseline, often disappearing from the TV screen for viewers at home.

Nadal was regularly standing closer to the front row fans than the actual service line, but the unique tactic worked a treat as the World No.1 defended for his life during Anderson's service games, frustrating the big man into multiple unforced errors.

When Nadal was serving he was as brilliant as he was business-like, keeping the towering South African under constant pressure and denying him a single break point.

"Personally it's just unbelievable what happened this year after a couple years with some troubles, injuries, some moments playing not good," 31-year-old Nadal told a cheering crowd.

"Since the first important event of the year in Australia I've been playing, I think, a very high level of tennis and closed the grand slam year winning here in New York."

Sweet 16 for Nadal. Image: Getty

For 31-year-old journeyman Anderson, a grand slam breakthrough was not to be with his booming serve having no impact against a near-perfect performance from Nadal in front of a sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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Nadal committed just 11 unforced errors in his 23rd major final.

"We are the same age but I feel I've been watching you my whole life. You are an idol of mine," said Anderson, praising his opponent.

"You are one of the greatest ambassadors of our sport."

with AAP