So many were desperate for this final to be a first ever meeting between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the US Open, with the draw opening up to make that a distinct possibility. This might not have materialised, but we got instead is arguably just as compelling a showpiece event, with Daniil Medvedev in his first ever Grand Slam final. Nadal, on the other hand, is looking for his 20th Slam title. Here is a preview of the US Open Final.
Daniil Medvedev v Rafael Nadal
US Open men’s singles final, Sunday September 8
This will be a rematch of the Rogers Cup which saw Nadal edge out Medvedev just a few weeks ago. However, the Russian has built up some momentum since then, making the final in Washington and winning in Cincinnati before arriving at Flushing Meadows.
Nadal took a break after playing in Montreal to ensure that he arrived in New York in peak condition and that has seemingly paid off. But Medvedev has momentum behind him. The prospect of becoming the first Next Gen player to make a Grand Slam breakthrough may push him on that little bit extra.
Nobody has won more tour matches over 2019 than Medvedev. He has provided the story of the summer in the men’s game and will, no matter what happens, rise to number four in the ATP rankings when they are released on Monday. This is a case of one legend attempting to add to his legacy and one aspiring youngster looking to crash through the glass ceiling.
Keys to the match
Medvedev has had great success over the past two weeks in unsettling opponents with his variety. It’s very difficult for opponents to find a rhythm against the Russian, as demonstrated in the wins over Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter final and semi final respectively. He is an uncomfortable player to play against.
However, Medvedev has shown in the past that he doesn’t deal so well with spin and this is something that could give Nadal the upper hand. What’s more, the 23-year-old has been struggling with injury in the past few matches. It’s difficult to envisage that he will be able to stick with Nadal if this match goes over three, possibly four, sets.
The first five to seven games of this final will be hugely important. If Medvedev can hold serve and maybe even gain a break, he will have a foothold. If Nadal starts fast then this could be another straight sets victory for the number two seed. A lot will be determined in the first set.
How did they get here?
Medvedev arrived at this year’s US Open as a man in form having won the Cincinnati Masters and the Russian has lived up to his billing by making it to his first Grand Slam final. Medvedev has really found his groove at Flushing Meadows, pulling off impressive wins over Feliciano Lopez, Wawrinka and Dimitrov on his way through to the final.
However, Nadal has had a smoother route through to the final, dropping just one set in six matches (against Marin Cilic) and receiving a walkover (the first of his career at a Grand Slam) in the second round. The Spaniard has spent significant less time on court than Medvedev and that could be a factor on Sunday.
1u - Back Rafael Nadal 3-0 @ -105
0.75u - Back Rafael Nadal Games Handicap -7.5 @ +125
2u - Back Set 1 Total Games Over 8.5 @ -380