NEW YORK (Reuters) - A look at the form and records of Rafa Nadal and Kevin Anderson ahead of Sunday’s U.S. Open final (prefix denotes seeding):
Rafa Nadal has raised the intensity of his game as the U.S. Open has progressed and was at his ruthless best against Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final.
After an early wobble, he switched gears to prevail and move within touching distance of his 16th grand slam title.
With four titles this year, including a grand slam at Roland Garros, Nadal has the momentum going into the match and with a comprehensive 4-0 winning record against the South African, will be heavy favourite to lift his third U.S. Open title.
Wielding his monster serve to devastating effect, Anderson beat Spain’s Pablo Carrena Busta 4-6 7-6 6-3 6-4 in the semi-finals to reach his first grand slam final at the age of 31.
After overcoming a hip injury that threatened his 2017 campaign, he has made his mark at Flushing Meadows with his resolve and dedication.
His path to the final was eased by injuries to top players but he has grabbed his chance with both hands and will deservedly bid to become the first South African to win a grand slam singles title in over 30 years.
Against Nadal, one of the game’s best returners, hustlers and retrievers, the 6ft 8in (2.03m) South African will need to go for his shots from the outset to try to delay his opponent from getting comfortable, otherwise it could be a very quick final.
He will need to keep the points short and avoid getting dragged into taxing rallies that Nadal will invariably win.
Nadal will be more than ready for Anderson to swing for the fences, but it will probably be the South African’s best chance of snatching a set or two to pressure the Spaniard and provide a genuine contest.
Writing by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Ransom