RICKY’S PREVIEW AND PREDICTION FOR THE 2017 U.S. OPEN TENNIS FINAL: RAFA NADAL VS. KEVIN ANDERSON

Written by: on 9th September 2017
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USA TENNIS US OPEN 2017
RICKY'S PREVIEW AND PREDICTION FOR THE 2017 U.S. OPEN TENNIS FINAL: RAFA NADAL VS. KEVIN ANDERSON

epa06193151 Kevin Anderson of South Africa reacts as he plays Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain during their US Open Tennis Championships men's semifinal round match at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 08 September 2017. The US Open runs through September 10. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE  |

Ricky’s preview and prediction for the U.S. Open final: Nadal vs. Anderson

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson will be facing each other for the fifth time in their careers when they collide in the U.S. Open final on Sunday afternoon.

 

All four of their previous meetings have gone Nadal’s way, and he is 3-0 against Anderson on hard courts. He is a dominant 9-1 in total sets, dropping only one in a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 victory at the Paris Masters in 2015. Their only slam showdown came at the 2015 Australian Open, where Nadal rolled to a 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 success. A similarly straightforward contest was the result when the two veterans most recently collided on the red clay of Barcelona a few months ago, with the current world No. 1 cruising 6-3, 6-4.

 

Almost 20 years after they first squared off in the 1998 Under 12 Junior Masters in Stuttgart, Nadal is still going strong at 31 years old. In fact, that is a gross understatement. He is enjoying one of his best-ever seasons, with three slam final appearances and a 10th title at the French Open. Nadal is well on his way to the year-end No. 1 ranking. Although he predictably cooled off after leaving Roland Garros, the 15-time major champ is back on track in New York with mostly routine victories over Dusan Lajovic, Taro Daniel, Leonardo Mayer, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Andrey Rublev, and Juan Martin Del Potro.

 

Anderson has also avoided any five-set drama while ousting J.C. Aragone, Ernests Gulbis, Borna Coric, Paolo Lorenzi, Sam Querrey, and Pablo Carreno Busta. The world No. 32 did not drop serve through three rounds before getting broken twice by Lorenzi, once by Querrey, and twice by Carreno Busta. This is, of course, Anderson’s first-ever appearance in a major final and he had never previously advanced to a semi.

 

“He’s a huge player with an unbelievable serve,” Nadal commented. “He had some injuries, so he’s a big example for the kids and for the rest of the tour; he was able to be back and play his best tennis now. I’m happy for him, because I’ve known him since we were 12 years old. It’s great to see him in the final of one of the most important tournaments of the year.”

 

“Nadal is one of the greatest competitors in sports, period,” Anderson said. “He’s an amazing fighter. He really controls the court well. I really need to be dominant and control proceedings as much as possible because if you let him do it, it’s very difficult.”

 

Nobody during this U.S. Open has been able to produce a strong enough combination of offense and consistency to seriously trouble Nadal for more than a set. Anderson has the kind of game that can do it, but he–too–has never been able to pull off such an effort. It goes without saying that it is an especially difficult task in a slam final.

 

Nadal, who has been in this situation 22 previous times, should have Grand Slam title No. 16 heading his way.

 

Pick: Nadal in 3

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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