Here we are at the semi-finals of the US Open series and we have our 1st big-boy match of the post Wimbledon season. With all the off-court drama happening in the tennis world, this match could not have come any sooner. It has been just over 4 weeks since Murray signed off SW19 with one of the biggest results in a very long time, but it does feel like 4years have passed us by. Without much delay, let’s take a look at what we can expect from Nadkovic hardcourt version 17.
This rivalry ties Lendl-Mcenroe for most matches played in the open era. Nadal leads the H2H 20-15. On hard courts this will be their 17th meeting. Djokovic has an equally dominating record on this particular surface. 11-5 to Djokovic on the asphalt. The last time these guys met, they gave us an absolute epic at the Roland Garros, 2013 – Nadal won that match 9-7 in the 5th. The last time these guys met on the hard courts, we have another thriller of a match, officially the longest Grand Slam final [in terms of time].
The last time these guys met in a 3 set match, Nole ended Rafa’s ridiculous Monte Carlo run by beating him in a second set tie-break. The last time these guys met in a 3 set match on hard courts, Djokovic beat Nadal in a 3rd set tie-break at the Miami Masters. I think we can safely conlude one or many or any of the following:
- This match has all the historical evidence to be a pulsating finale [sorry Milos Raonic].
- There will be a tie-break at the end of the match.
- Djokovic will beat his chest multiple times to show he is the alpha male of the tennis world, presently.
- Nadal will Vamos 36385388345 times to show everybody he is going to end this year as the alpha male of the tennis world.
I will not get this preview in before the match starts
The Here and Now…..
Getting serious, given the surface and their recent form, I will go with the world No.1 today. This is a surface on which he has superior record among active players [except the King of Tennis, himself]. He had started the week bad but his performance against Gasquet was terrific. “Close to perfection” to quote the man himself.
Nadal has been playing some real good tennis himself. It all depends on how well Rafa continues his new aggressive tactics and how well he can stay close to the baseline and not let Novak take control of the ground-strokes. I believe he will do that for a set or set and a half. If he can do it for 2 complete sets, he will get to the final and his 1st non-clay win over Djokovic since Nov. 2010.
Rod Federer’s prediction: Djokovic in 3 sets.
Enjoy tennis and life, friends.