It’s a big semifinal Sunday at the US Open. The rains have cleared and left on the schedule today are four of the best hardcourt players in the world led by Roger Federer. The 5-time champ Federer is joined by Novak Djokovic and two guys who have never been in a US Open final, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro.
The first semifinal features Nadal and DelPo. The 6-foot-6 DelPo has been on a tear all tournament and he’s got two wins on the hard stuff in two recent meetings with Spaniard this year – though Nadal did beat him at Indian Wells.
Nadal we know has struggled with his abs this event and his knees during the summer, and he’s had the misfortune of dealing with the rain and the revised schedule the last few days. But Nadal’s the best battler on the circuit and if he’s 100% fit, healthy and focused I think he’ll get through and wear down Del Potro.
I picked DelPo to get to the final but against a physically ready Nadal even though he has the weapons – the big serve, the monster goundstrokes – to take it to Rafa, I think the statge and the moment catches up with the Argentine. And this is best-of-five set tennis on the biggest of stages (literally, it is the biggest stadium in the world).
However this match I think rests on DelPo’s racquet. On a fast surface if he plays his best I think he can overpower with Rafa with his serve. It’s a big ask, but it’s doable.
Later, I think Djokovic has a great chance against Federer who’s just 36 hours from a possible 16th Grand Slam and 6th US Open. Federer has won eight of 12 career meetings with Novak including two straight at the US Open.
But this year on the hardcourts Federer’s had his ups and downs and if he has a down day today I think Novak can covert. That said, Novak’s also had his share of poor play this fortnight, but for the Serb I think the pressure is off and he’ll play well today. Well enough? Maybe.
This match is really up to Federer. If he plays well, he wins. He has starts shanking balls and struglling with his movement and his backhand, Novak can grab win.
But I’m taking Federer especially if the Spaniard who plays first gets through to the final. Roger won’t want to pass up a chance to face his rival and set up a first meeting between the two in New York.
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