We’ve reached the end of what’s been a very profitable US Open 2013 for this column, and on Monday night the championship match sees Rafael Nadal take on Novak Djokovic.
My semi-final advice proved to be an easy winner, as the Djokovic vs Stan Wawrinka match lasted considerably longer than the total minutes mark, while the Rafa Nadal vs Richard Gasquet match also went the way I had predicted.
So, it’s part 37 of the Rafa vs Nole series at around 10pm UK time to decide the final Grand Slam of the season.
Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic
Clashes between these two are largely pick ‘em matches and this one is no different, with Nadal the favourite at around 1.64 - and I have to side with the Spaniard here.
Rafa is yet to lose a match on hard courts in 2013 and has been broken just the once this whole tournament – and that was when he threw his serve away when a break up in the second set against Gasquet on Saturday. But even more impressive than the stats has been the way that Rafa has approached the entire US hard court swing, with the kind of bristling intensity that only he in the men’s game brings to the court.
In contrast, Nole has looked unsteady, lacking in confidence and has struggled through a few matches here, being broken by all of his opponents barring an exhausted Marcel Granollers and over-matched Joao Sousa. The world number one looked anything but for large portions of his clash with Wawrinka and a substantial improvement is required if he is going to get the better of Rafa today.
Nadal has eased his way through to his third US Open final in much more impressive fashion and based on everything that we’ve seen from the two protagonists thus far it’s hard to see anything but a Rafa win for me. Of course, Djokovic will have something to say about that, but he will need to improve hugely upon the performance against Wawrinka to make this a spectacle.
If we get the tentative Djokovic who was woeful on serve against the Swiss then this could be a reasonably comfortable win for Nadal, whose own serve has been firing, as is borne out by his excellent stats this fortnight. Ever since Montreal we’ve seen a much more aggressive approach from the Spaniard reminiscent of his run to the title here in 2010 and unless Novak takes it up a fair few notches there’s only one winner here.
The 3-1 Rafa victory is tempting at 4.10 for a bigger priced wager and the under 225.5 total minutes also appeals at 1.87 and the under 41.5 total games at 2.0, but I’m happy to stick with the Nadal win.
Back Nadal to beat Djokovic at 1.64
Read Sean Calvert's daily tennis tips here.