Sunday, 12 September 2010
US Open Final Preview
Let’s compare the 2 players:
(Not including today’s match)
Rafael Nadal – 10 Grand Slam Finals, 8 Titles
Novak Djokovic - 2 Grand Slam Finals, 1 Title
Rafael Nadal – 33 other career Titles including 18 Masters
Novak Djokovic – 16 other career Titles including 5 Masters
Currently 14-7 to Rafael but the last 3 meetings, World Tour Finals; Paris Masters & Cincinnati in 2009 were all won by Novak, all straight sets and rather comfortable wins. They have met 3 times previously in Grand Slams with Rafael the winner in all. Funny enough only 1 match has actually been completed, the 2007 Semi Final @ Roland Garros. The other 2 matches, Semi Final @ Roland Garros in 2006 & Semi Final @ Wimbledon in 2007 have each ended with Novak retiring injured.
Both players form coming into the US Open is very similar. Both played decent tennis to reach the Semi Finals @ Toronto and both struggled slightly in Cincinnati and lost in the Quarter Finals against players most expected them to beat.
US Open Form
Novak has had the harder route to the final, having to overcome a very tough 5 set match in the heat against fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki in Round 1. It was then straight set wins against Petzscher, Blake, in form Mardy Fish & showman Monfils until the Semi Final v Roger Federer. A massive match, a fantastic match and an incredible 5th set with some “lights-out” tennis. Saved 2 Match Points and was almost in shock when Roger hit long for him to reach his 2nd US Open Final.
The form of Rafael Nadal has been equally impression mainly due to the improved serve. Whilst I don’t think the speed has been as fast in the recent matches the fact that he has lost just 2, yes 2 games on serve is where the change is paying off. Unlike Novak Rafael has got here with no great difficulty. Gabashvili, Istomin, Simon, Lopez, Verdasco & Youzhny have all been dismissed in straight sets.
So put all that together and what do we have. We have 2 young guys who have been playing, for me personally, their best HC tennis. For me this is the best I have seen from Novak since his Slam win in Australia 2008 and from Rafa this is the best EVER! Will the fact that he played 2nd and had a massive match with Roger prove too much for Novak? I really hope not, I hope he can take all the adrenaline from the match and use it to push himself today. For Rafael this is his day of destiny. Wrote off by many after the torment of 2009 he has come back and swept all before him, 3 Masters & 2 Slams have been added to the collection since April and today he can join 6 other players who have won all 4 Grand Slam titles. Will this weigh on his mind, I don’t think so. Rafa is a very focused player, he plays 1 point at a time and he will be thinking about winning that, not the title, until the very last shot.
What Do I Think?
Oh God, how can I decide. I am rather torn on this. I so want Rafa to win, I just want the title in the bag then other people can shut up about him not being able to play on HC blah blah blah. Whilst the career slam may not be important to him I think deep down it is and if he can get that out of the way today he will then be able to get on with playing the tennis, 1 less question for the media to bug him with! For Novak a victory will take him out of that “1 Slam Wonder” category and prove a few people wrong who have said that the Australian Open win in 2008 was a “one-off” and that he doesn’t have the stamina/fitness or ability to be a multi-slam winner.
Who will win?
Can’t they share? Seriously I have to go with my man Rafa in 4 tight sets unless Novak has no energy left then it could be straight sets but I think if Novak wins the 1st set he could sneak it. In other words I have no idea!
Whatever happens we will have a new US Open champion.
Good luck boys!