Monday, September 9, 2013

U.S. Open Men's Final, Djokovic vs. Nadal: 3 Keys To the Match and Prediction

Tonight's U.S. Open Men's Final scheduled for 5 p.m Eastern time features the world's best two players, Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain.  Both players are looking to add a second Grand Slam title to their 2013 calendar year.

Djokovic is hoping for a seventh overall Grand Slam while Nadal is going for number 13.  Nadal played two sets less of tennis coming in to the Final and is the favorite to win because of his most recent winning streaks since coming back from injury earlier in the year.

The first key to the match is for Djokovic to win the first set and put some pressure on Nadal.  If Nadal wins the first set, he will win the match.

Nadal has been too strong at nighttime.  His one tough match against German Phillip Kohlschreiber was mostly played in the day with some sun.  It would seem Nadal is most vulnerable in the daylight.

Obviously, if Djokovic wishes to win, he will have to break serve a few times.  Breaking Nadal has been no easy chore.  He has only been broken one time all tournament long, in the semifinal versus Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Lastly, Djokovic must turn this match into a game of wills (especially, in the fifth set if he can get it there).  It is his only chance as long as he can break serve some and win an early set.  Djokovic must be able to show Nadal he is willing to go to where both have gone before versus each other, but neither really wants to go there again.  This happened most recently in the Australian Open of 2012 that played out over 353 minutes.

After Chris Evert versus Martina Navratilova, this is Tennis' greatest rivalry and one of sports history's greatest overall rivalries.  Martina was 43 to Evert's 37.

Nadal leads the rivalry at 21-15.  But, Djokovic leads Slam Finals at 3-2.

Prediction:  Nadal in four sets

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