US Open Men's Final Preview: Rafael Nadal vs. Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson beats Pablo Carreno Busta to reach final of US Open in gripping match

He will have to take down a perennial star to claim his first major title, though, but it hasn't been completely smooth sailing for the Spaniard so far.

Del Potro, who was battling illness heading into the clash having struggled at times against Federer and Dominic Thiem, looked on course for a showdown with Kevin Anderson in the decider, however Nadal showed why he has won 15 Majors as he wore down the big-hitting No.24 seed in a sensational onslaught for his 23rd appearance in a slam final.

It's really great that Kevin Anderson is into his first major final. But like Anderson, Nadal also had to dig deep and come from behind to win after losing the first set. Still, Anderson has only won one set in those matches, so he will have to pull out some magic to get a win. Nadal has won all four meetings against the South African.

The 6-foot-8 booming server hails from South Africa, a country with a good tennis background but one uncelebrated enough that Anderson said Friday, "People in my country love tennis, actually".

"I need to be ready for it". Most important: He's been here before.

Rafael Nadal brought his "A game" on Friday at the US Open when the Spaniard, behind a bevy of bludgeoning blasts and a hyper-aggressive gameplan, ruthlessly destroyed Juan Martin del Potro.

He slipped to No. 80 in the world in January - his lowest ranking in seven years - but now has a chance to re-enter the top-10 if he wins the title on Sunday.

However, with former winners Djokovic, Murray and 2016 champion Wawrinka all not playing this year, opportunity has knocked for Anderson. "It's tough beating those guys because they have had so much experience at this level", said the world number 32.

"Then at the beginning of the second (set), I knew that something had to change". He's able to play his best tennis in his career right now.

So the chances of him taking victory for granted when he faces Kevin Anderson in today's US Open final are as slim as him scattering his water bottles untidily around his courtside chair or rushing through his service routine.

Federer won the other two, the Australian Open, where he prevailed over Nadal in a breathtaking five-setter, and Wimbledon. "Great heart. I think one of the reasons he fit very well in Champaign was his blue-collar work ethic".

The Spaniard is odds-on favourite to beat Anderson and win his first major title away from the French Open since the second of his titles in NY in 2013 and match Roger Federer by claiming two Grand Slams this season. In the 10 sets the duo contested, he got the better of Nadal in just one. I am very happy to be in the final here in the US Open.

Sunday will be also an emotional occasion for Nadal's coach since childhood, his uncle Toni, who will retire from life on the road at year's end to devote himself to his nephew's academy in Mallorca. I train at the academy.

Although Anderson has some big-time weapons, particularly on his serve, the world No. 1 is playing, as he likes to say, with calm, clear thought and with the peace of mind that he is not dealing with any injuries.



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