The Federation Cup final between Australia and France showed yet again that team events in tennis have a place in the hearts of both players and fans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sunday, 8 September, 4:00pm (Monday, 9 September, 6:00am AEST) at Arthur Ashe Stadium
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  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
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  Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-3,3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Quarter-final: defeated  Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
Semi-final: defeated  Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-1
The stats that matter
Rafael Nadal in four sets.