Monday night’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 seasons.
Djokovic is hoping for a seventh Grand Slam title, while Nadal is going for number 13. Nadal played two fewer sets coming in to the final and is the favorite to win because of the way he’s played 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 when playing at night. His one tough match against German Philipp Kohlschreiber was mostly played in the day with some sun. It would seem Nadal is most vulnerable during the day.
Obviously, if Djokovic wants to win, he will have to break Nadal’s serve a few times. Breaking Nadal has been no easy chore. He has only been broken one time all tournament long, and that came in the semifinal versus Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Lastly, Djokovic must turn this match into a battle 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 against each other, but neither really wants to go that distance again. That happened most recently at the Australian Open final in 2012. That match played out over a ridiculous five hours and 53 minutes.
After Chris Evert versus Martina Navratilova, this is Tennis’ greatest rivalry and one of sports history’s greatest overall rivalries. Navratilova 43 to Evert’s 37.
Nadal leads the rivalry at 21-15, but, Djokovic leads in head-to-head slam finals 3-2.
Prediction: Nadal in four sets
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com