As expected three time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain faces the Red hot Russian Daniil Medvedev in the finals of the U.S. Open after both players won their semi-finals in near identical scorelines on Friday at the Flushing Meadows in New York. Nadal, a champion in 2010, 2013 and 2017, defeated the 23 year old Italian Matteo Berrettini 7-6(6),6-4,6-1 after Medvedev beat the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(5),6-4,6-3 in the first semi-final.
The fifth seeded Medvedev, registered his 20th victory in 22 matches, a run which saw him reach the finals in Washington DC and Montreal, a maiden Master’s title in Cincinnati and now a maiden final in a grand slam. He joins Ivan Lendl(1982) and Andre Agassi (1995) who also played the finals of all the four events that year. Nadal who beat Medvedev 6-3,6-0 in their only career meeting till date last month in the finals of Coupe Rogers at Montreal will look to clinch his 19th career grand slam title which puts him only one behind archrival Roger Federer’s tally of 20.
Such has been the confidence of the Russian that inspite of being at only 50% first serve and eight double faults, he thwarted the attempt of the 78th ranked Dimitrov who was playing in his third career semi-finals of a grand slam, having previously reached the last four stage at Wimbledon 2013 and at the Australian Open in 2017. The pair broke serve twice each in the first which went into a tie-break which the Russian won 7-5. He would go up an early break in the second but Dimitrov got the break back. The Russian then broke serve in the tenth game to clinch the second set 6-4. Dimitrov, who had upset the five time champion Roger Federer in the Quarter-finals posed few problems for Medvedev who now leads the US Open series with a tally of 3100 which is unassailable.
The second seeded Nadal wasted six break point chances in the opening set against Berrettini and when the Italian took a 6-4 lead in the tie-break it looked like a long match in store. Nadal had other ideas as aided by a netted backhand from Berrettini he took the last four points to clinch the tie-break 8-6. Only one break of serve was enough for Nadal to clinch the second set 6-4. That effectively signalled the end of the 24th seeded Berrettini’s resistance as Nadal would break serve twice in the third set which he won 6-1. Nadal lost only 13 points on his own serve despite serving at only 57% first serve.
The 19 year old Bianca Andreescu of Canada becomes the first player born in 2000s to win a grand slam title after completing a 6-3,7-5 win over the American Serena Williams on Saturday. The 19 year old showed little signs of nerves as she broke serve six times in the match against the eighth seeded American who was looking to tie Margaret Court’s tally of 24 grand slam titles. Williams showed her fighting qualities as rallied from a 1-5 deficit in the second set and even saved a match point on Andreescu’s serve in the seventh game of the second set. Just when it looked like the vociferous New York crowd would help Williams to a decider, the 19 year old regrouped to claim the next two games and the match.
Earlier on Thursday, Serena Williams entered her fourth grand slam final since returning last year after the birth of her first child as he outlasted Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3,6-1. Williams last year was beaten by Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon and by Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open and also lost at Wimbledon to Simona Halep this year. Bianca Andreescu defeated the Swiss Belinda Bencic 7-6(3),7-5 in the other semi-final to reach her first grand slam final in her very first main draw appearance in New York. Last year she lost in the qualifiers.
Prediction: The 3 previous times that the US Open Final was a repeat of the Final in Canada, the losing finalist in the Canadian Open was able to reverse the result from the earlier match. Federer was the last one to do so in 2007 against Djokovic.
Medvedev would love to keep the trend going, but he is up against too much experience from the Spaniard. Nadal to win his 4th US Open title in 4 sets against the Russian youngster.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]