Nadal Takes Two-Set Lead In US Open Final
Rafael Nadal has grabbed a two-set lead against Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s US Open final after winning the second set 6-3. Nadal won the first set 7-5.
The 33-year-old Spanish left-hander came into the match chasing his 19th career Grand Slam singles title, one shy of Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record, in his 27th Slam final and his fifth championship match on the New York hardcourts.
“(I am) very happy for everything. Another final of the Grand Slam and another final here in Flushing Meadows means a lot to me,” Nadal said ahead of the game.
“I feel comfortable here, I like the atmosphere, I like the crowd. I feel a big energy when I’m playing in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Thanks to the crowd because I feel a big support from them all the time. That’s important for me.”
Nadal, who made the semi-finals at all four Slams for the first season since 2008, captured his 12th French Open title in June, lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic and fell to Federer in the Wimbledon semi-finals.
And while he has dropped only one set in the Flushing Meadows fortnight, Nadal is facing the hottest player on tour in fifth-ranked Medvedev, who at 23 could become the first Slam winner born in the 1990s.
Medvedev has produced a stunning six weeks on hardcourts: reaching the Washington final, losing the Montreal final to Nadal in their only prior meeting, winning the title at Cincinnati while Nadal rested and now charging into his first Grand Slam final.
“It is a super-tough final. I need to be playing at my best,” Nadal said. “I think at the end of the (semi-final) match I increased my level again. I need to hold this level if I want to have chances on Sunday. If not, is so difficult. He is very, very solid.”
Medvedev leads the ATP in season wins and has battled through four four-set wins at the US Open.
“All his season is amazing,” Nadal said. “Is the player who is in better shape on tour. I will face the player who is winning more matches of the year and the player who is playing on the highest level since a while.”
Medvedev sees Nadal as super-human.
“Talking about Rafa, it’s tough to find words,” Medvedev said. “He’s one of the greatest champions in the history of our sport. He’s just a machine, a beast on the court.
“The energy he’s showing is just amazing. To play him in your first Grand Slam final should be, I want to say, a funny thing. It’s not going to be a funny thing, but it’s going to be an amazing thing to live.”
Hearing of Medvedev’s praise, Nadal responded: “Always is beautiful to hear nice things from your colleagues. Happy for that. Just I hope to be like this on Sunday. I will need it.”