Daniil Medvedev once reveled in his role as the villain of Flushing Meadows but on Sunday the Russian completed his transformation to unlikely hero after taking Rafael Nadal the distance in a pulsating U.S. Open final.

Despite losing to the Spaniard in a five-set thriller, Medvedev’s performance suggests more Grand Slam finals are in his future and that he could be a genuine challenger to the ‘Big Three’ — Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.