Novak Djokovic is aiming for his second US Open title. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/AFP
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic each have one US Open trophy on their mantelpiece after meeting each other in the 2010 and 2011 finals. One will have a second come Tuesday morning (AEST) when the two best players in the world face off at Flushing Meadows after contrasting paths to the decider.
For the third time in four years, Djokovic had to overcome a Swiss player in five sets in the semi-final to reach the final. Previously it has been the great Roger Federer standing in his way, but for the second time this year, the Serb had to overcome Stanislas Wawrinka in five-set cliffhanger in a Slam to advance. After triumphing 12-10 in the fifth in the round of 16 at the Australian Open in January, the Djoker again had Wawrinka’s measure at the end of a classic, coming back from two sets to one down to reach his fourth straight final in New York in over four hours.
Nadal has cruised through his first six matches dropping just one set to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth round. His semi-final against Richard Gasquet – who was coming off back-to-back five setters – lasted only two-and-a-half hours. The Spaniard rested for six weeks after his shock first round loss at Wimbledon to Steve Darcis and the layoff has paid off after winning Masters events at Montreal and Cincinnati during the North American hardcourt season.
Nadal has won five of the last six clashes with Djokovic, but four of those victories came on his beloved clay. He beat the Serb in three sets in the Montreal final, but prior to that, Djokovic had won four in a row between the pair on hardcourt. Both meetings at the US Open have gone to four sets, while the Spaniard has taken the first set in six of the last seven contests.
Click here to bet on Tennis ATP – US Open Final