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2019 US Open: Men's final preview

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Roar Guru
8th September, 2019
2

A 19th major singles title and fourth crown at Flushing Meadows will be at the mercy of Rafael Nadal when he faces off against Russian upstart Daniil Medvedev in Monday morning’s (AEST) US Open men’s singles final.

The Spaniard will start as the red-hot favourite to take out the final grand slam title of the year, which would see him draw to within one of the record for the most grand slam men’s singles titles currently held by Roger Federer (20).

This would then set up an intriguing 2020 season in which Nadal would be expected to win his 20th major singles title at the French Open, which would also be his 13th title there.

Without being disrespectful to Federer, this assumes that he does not win the Australian Open at the start of the year, though if he does, he will extend his haul of major singles titles to 21 and make it harder for Nadal to catch him.

Rafael Nadal

(Fred Lee/Getty Images)

Nadal has had to play only five completed matches en route to his 27th grand slam final, with Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis withdrawing prior to their second-round match.

The Spaniard was otherwise ruthless, dropping just one set en route: the second set in his fourth-round match against 22nd seed and 2014 champion Marin Cilic.

In his semi-final against Matteo Berrettini, the 33-year-old was tested in the opening set but emerged victorious in the tie break before dominating for the rest of the match to reach his fifth final at Flushing Meadows.

And while Nadal won his most recent meeting against Medvedev in the final of the Montreal Masters quite convincingly, he’ll be aware of a man who has otherwise enjoyed an impressive American summer, winning the prestigious Cincinnati Masters last month.

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En route to that title he dethroned defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, making it two wins against the Serb this year after also defeating him at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.

He also reached the final in Washington, where he was defeated by Nick Kyrgios in the championship match in two tight tie break sets.

Here at Flushing Meadows the Russian broke new ground, reaching his first grand slam quarter-final and then proceeding to become the first man from his country to reach a grand slam final since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open.

Daniil Medvedev

(AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

In the quarter-final he overcame a tough test against 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka, winning in four sets, while in his semi-final he was at his best as he dismantled Roger Federer’s conqueror, Grigor Dimitrov, in straight sets.

Now he will need to be at his absolute best if he is to emulate what Safin did, whereby he won two major titles: here at the 2000 US Open, where he defeated Pete Sampras in straight sets, and at the 2005 Australian Open, when he defeated Lleyton Hewitt in four sets.

All is now set for what should be a fantastic finish to the 2019 grand slam season. Here is everything you need to know ahead of Monday morning’s (AEST) men’s championship match.

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Daniil Medvedev [5] (RUS) vs Rafael Nadal [2] (ESP)

Sunday, 8 September, 4:00pm (Monday, 9 September, 6:00am AEST) at Arthur Ashe Stadium

Head-to-head
All matches: Nadal 1-0
Last meeting: Nadal won 6-3, 6-0, final, 2019 Rogers Cup.

Daniil Medvedev’s road to the final
Round 1: defeated Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) 6-4, 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: defeated Hugo Dellien (BOL) 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
Round 3: defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4
Round 4: defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)
Quarter-final: defeated [23] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Semi-final: defeated Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-3

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Rafael Nadal’s road to the final
Round 1: defeated John Millman (AUS) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Round 2: against Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) walkover
Round 3: defeated Hyeon Chung (KOR) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: defeated [22] Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-3,3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Quarter-final: defeated [20] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
Semi-final: defeated [24] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-1

The stats that matter

  • This is Rafael Nadal’s 27th grand slam final and fifth at the US Open, while for Daniil Medvedev this is his first major final.
  • Medvedev is the first Russian man to reach a major final since Marat Safin won the 2005 Australian Open and the first at the US Open since Safin defeated Pete Sampras to win it in 2000. He is also just the second man born in the 1990s to reach a major final (after Dominic Thiem).
  • Medvedev is the ninth different opponent to face Nadal in a major final after Mariano Puerta, Roger Federer, Robin Soderling, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Stan Wawrinka, Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem.
  • Nadal is aiming to win multiple major titles in a season for the fifth time (after 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2017). In all of those years he won the French Open, and on the past three occasions won both the French and US Open. In 2010 he won all bar the Australian Open.
  • He is also aiming to win the Rogers Cup and US Open in the same year for just the second time, after doing so in 2013.
  • A Nadal win would see him and Djokovic sweep the grand slam calendar for just the second time (after 2011). It would also complete a third consecutive sweep of the grand slam calendar by tennis’s big three (Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer), and the eighth time overall (after 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2017 and 2018).
  • This is the second meeting between the pair, after Nadal won in the final of the Rogers Cup last month.
  • After the women’s final was played between Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams, both US Open singles finals are rematches of the Rogers Cup finals.

Prediction
Rafael Nadal in four sets.