Wawrinka Breaks Down Medvedev Wall In Five-Set Thriller

Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka reacts after a point against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev during their men’s singles match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2020.
DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka turned back the clock in a vintage performance to stun world number four, Daniil Medvedev, Monday and race into the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The popular Swiss star, who beat Rafael Nadal in the 2014 decider, dug deep to come from behind in five intense sets and win 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2.

It set up a last-eight clash with either Russian 17th seed Andrey Rublev or German seventh seed Alexander Zverev.

“Another amazing match,” said Wawrinka, who is into his 18th Grand Slam quarter-final, behind only Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray among active players.

“The level was super-high and the atmosphere is so special here in Australia.

“It’s amazing to still be playing and at that level. I’m really happy with what I’m doing on the court.”

Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka has not won a title since pocketing the 16th of his career on the Geneva clay in 2017, with two bouts of surgery on his left knee pushing him to the brink of retirement.

A lengthy absence from the tour meant his world ranking plunged, but he has climbed back to world number 15 after runs last year to the last eight at Roland Garros and the US Open.

Beating Medvedev brought up another milestone in Wawrinka’s illustrious career — it was his 300th Tour-level win.

Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka gives a hug to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (L) after their men’s singles match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2020.
DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

It was classic Wawrinka in the first set, with the 34-year-old playing some of his best tennis in a long time.

He broke to go 3-1 in front and then again to take the set in 32 minutes of precision and power, with the Russian struggling to match him around the court.

But Medvedev came roaring back to break and take a 3-1 lead in the second set as Wawrinka lost his range, breaking again to take the set in emphatic fashion.

The 23-year-old built on his advantage early in the third set, with his serve making life hard for Wawrinka who struggled to create chances and had trouble applying the finishing touch at the net.

In contrast, Medvedev was hitting winners and broke for 4-3 before sealing the set.

They traded blows in a tight fourth set, desperately arm-wrestling for the edge with a tiebreaker needed and Wawrinka showing his experience to prevail and send it to a deciding set, where the writing was on the wall.

Medvedev had played five career five-setters and lost them all, while veteran Wawrinka had 50 under his belt and a 28-22 record.

He turned the screws, breaking the Russian’s opening service game then staving off three break points to go 3-1 in front, with no way back for the fourth seed.

AFP

ATP: Medvedev Sets Up Last 16 Clash With Wawrinka

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev hits a return against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin during their men’s singles match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2020.
William WEST / AFP

 

World number four Daniil Medvedev eased past Alexei Popyrin in straight sets Saturday to set up a last-16 clash with former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka.

The tall Russian had few problems dispatching the unseeded Australian 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena as he steps up his quest for a maiden Grand Slam crown.

“I knew it was not going to be easy and happy to win in straight sets,” said Medvedev, insisting he had no expectations in Melbourne.

“(But) of course every time no matter what tournament I’m super disappointed (if I lose).

“Hopefully I can win seven matches here, but very tough.”

He now plays experienced 2014 champion Wawrinka after the Swiss got an easy ride through his clash against John Isner, with the American retiring injured while losing 6-4, 6-1.

Wawrinka, a former world number three who has never returned to his best since knee surgery in 2017, said he was happy to be in the second week of a Slam once again.

“I think I was playing well again today,” he said. “I was really happy the way I was moving, the way I was playing.

“That’s very positive. It’s great to be back in the second week, that’s for sure. Feeling way better.”

Popyrin conceded an early break and was never allowed into the match by a man seeded behind only the Big Three of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

After Medvedev rattled through the first set, Popyrin went off for treatment for a leg problem midway through the second.

When he returned the Russian was ruthless, wrapping up the set then completing a routine victory, using his strength and big serve to good effect.

AFP

Medvedev Revives Russia’s Tennis Hopes

Russia’s tennis player Daniil Medvedev arrives for a meeting with the Russian media at the GUM department store in downtown Moscow on October 14, 2019. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev, Russia’s number one tennis player, on Monday signed caps and tennis balls for fans in his native city of Moscow, hours after landing from China, where he won the Shanghai Masters Sunday.

After a period in the doldrums, Russian tennis is now infused with a new generation of young male players and Medvedev, 23, is leading the pack, now at a career-best of fourth in the world.

Tired after a long flight and admitting he was surviving on coffee, Medvedev posed for selfies with fans.

“I do feel there’s a lot of support coming from Russia. it’s huge and it’s great,” he told AFP. “A lot of support coming from social media (and) support from my friends, because most of my friends are still Russian guys.”

Fans hailed his influence.

“The main thing is that tennis is becoming more popular in Russia thanks to him,” said one fan, 19-year-old student Daniil Trefilov.

Trefilov hopes to watch Medvedev play in the city’s Kremlin Cup this week — Medvedev said he will decide on Tuesday if he will participate.

Another fan, David Umarkhadzhiyev who leads an online group of Russian supporters, said he “fell in love with the game” from watching Medvedev play.

“After (Marat) Safin and (Yevgeny) Kafelnikov there was a kind of stagnation,” Umarkhadzhiyev said, referring to top players of past decades.

“There were no men and suddenly one or two years ago, Medvedev, (Karen) Khachanov and (Andrei) Rublev appeared.”

The trio are Russia’s top-ranking men’s players and Medvedev says they share a healthy rivalry.

“We have a great competition between us three guys and we really push each other.”

Speaking fluent English and French as well as Russian, he looks tanned and relaxed but his eyes sometimes half-close from fatigue.

Beyond rivalry with fellow Russian players, Medvedev is now challenging the dominance of tennis’s big three much older players: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and  Novak Djokovic.

“These guys are just from another planet, we have to admit it, they are really strong and we are trying our best to beat them,” he said.

He did not attach much significance to claims by commentators such as Boris Becker that the younger generation of players may not be strong enough mentally to seize the crown from the old guard.

“I just can continue to work hard, to improve every day and to try my best to be at the top of the tennis world,” he said.

“If it works out, I will be extremely happy, if it doesn’t, I know I did my best.”

Shanghai Masters: Medvedev Reaches Sixth Final

Daniil Medvedev of Russia hits a return against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their men’s singles semi-final match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on October 12, 2019. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev reached a staggering sixth final in a row as he defeated fellow rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.

The US Open finalist from Russia plays Alexander Zverev of Germany or Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in Sunday’s decider as the next generation takes centre stage in China.

The 23-year-old Medvedev, who has lifted three titles in a breakthrough 2019, beat Greece’s Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/5), 7-5.

Medvedev has now seen off the 21-year-old — who defeated world number one Novak Djokovic on Friday — in all five of their matches.

“It’s something I could never have dreamed of,” the world number four said of his sixth final on the trot.

“I want to keep the momentum going and hopefully make it to seven or eight.”

The history was with Medvedev but there was nothing in it as he and Tsitsipas entered the first-set tie break after 43 minutes of high-quality tennis.

Seventh-ranked Tsitsipas blinked first, gifting set point when he shanked a forehand and then doing the same moments later to put the Russian a set up.

Medvedev broke the Greek — who repeatedly tried to gee up the crowd — in the third game of the second set.

The Russian served for the match at 5-4, only for Tsitsipas to dig in and break for 5-5, before Medvedev did likewise.

Tsitsipas smacked the ball out the court in a rage, before Medvedev sealed the semi-final win in the 12th game of the second set.

“Same vibes, same thing all over again,” said Tsitsipas of yet another defeat to the Russian.

“I don’t mean to be rude at all, but it’s just boring.

“It’s so boring that I hate myself for putting myself into that kind of situation where I have to play in his own terms and not in my terms.”

AFP

I Fought Like Hell, Says US Open Runner-Up Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev of Russia returns a shot during the fourth set of his Men’s Singles final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on day fourteen of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev said the energy of the New York crowd helped instigate the stunning fightback that saw him fall just short against Rafael Nadal in a five-set classic in Sunday’s US Open final.

The Russian fifth seed dropped the first two sets to Nadal in his first Grand Slam final but charged back to force a decider, almost erasing a double break deficit in the fifth set before going down 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.

“First of all I just want to congratulate Rafa, 19th Grand Slam title is something unbelievable, outrageous,” Medvedev said.

“What you’ve done for tennis in general, it’s amazing for our sport. Thank you and congrats again.”

Medvedev has experienced a love-hate relationship with fans at Flushing Meadows after an obscene gesture in a third-round match prompted loud boos, to which the Russian later responded with a taunt of his own.

But the 23-year-old won the crowd over during his run to the final, where he was attempting to become the youngest Grand Slam champion since Juan Martin del Potro won the US Open in 2009.

“To be honest in my mind, I was already thinking, ‘What do I say in the speech, it’s going to be in 20 minutes,” Medvedev recalled, having fallen two sets behind to Nadal.

“I was like I have to fight for every ball, and it went further but it didn’t go my way. I know earlier in the tournament I said a bad thing, and now it’s a good thing.

“It’s because of your energy that I’m here in the final. I mean, tonight is going to always be in my mind because I played in the biggest court in the tennis world.

“You guys were pushing me to prolong this match because you want to see more tennis. Because of you guys, I was fighting like hell.

“It’s electric. You were booing me for a reason. I can also change because I am a human being and I can make mistakes. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.”

AFP

UPDATED: Nadal Wins Five-Set US Open Final Thriller, 19th Grand Slam

Nadal celebrates with the 2019 US Open men’s championship trophy at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Queens borough of New York City on September 08, 2019. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

Rafael Nadal captured his 19th career Grand Slam title in thrilling fashion on Sunday by winning the US Open final, outlasting Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 to seize his fourth crown in New York.

The 33-year-old Spanish left-hander moved one shy of Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record 20 Grand Slam triumphs and became the second-oldest New York champion in the Open era after Ken Rosewall in 1970 at age 35.

World number two Nadal took the top prize of $3.85 million at Arthur Ashe Stadium and added to his US Open trophy haul from 2010, 2013 and 2017.

Nadal, who was in his fifth US Open championship match and 27th Grand Slam final, is the first man to claim five major titles after turning 30.

But it took a supreme effort from the Spanish maestro, who nearly became the first player to drop the final after leading by two sets since Frederick Schroeder in 1949.

At some point, it looked as if victory was certain to slip away from Nadal Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

 

Nadal, who rose to 22-12 in five-set matches, has dropped only one Grand Slam match out of more than 200 when he has won the first two sets, the loss coming at the hands of Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the 2015 US Open third round.

At four hours and 50 minutes, the match finished four minutes shy of equaling the longest final in US Open history from Mats Wilander’s 1988 win and Andy Murray’s 2012 title.

It was the second Slam title of the year for Nadal after taking his 12th French Open crown in June.

In addition to reaching the brink of Federer’s mark, Nadal moved one shy of the Open era record five US Open titles won by Federer, Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras.

Nadal celebrates his hard-fought victory  Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

 

Nadal, who won his only prior meeting with Medvedev in last month’s Montreal final, seldom looked threatened after being broken early in the match.

The Spaniard stretched his win streak over Russians to 20 matches since losing to Nikolay Davydenko in the 2011 Doha semi-finals.

Fifth seed Medvedev, 23, battled throughout his first Grand Slam final but could not become the youngest men’s Grand Slam champion since Juan Martin del Potro at the 2009 US Open, falling to 0-5 in five-set matches.

Medvedev, who saw his career-best 12-match win streak snapped, would have been the first Russian to win a Grand Slam title since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open and the first Russian to win the US Open since Safin in 2000.

At 6-foot-6 (1.98m), Medvedev also would have matched Marin Cilic and del Potro as the tallest champion in US Open history.

Daniil Medvedev battled hard, rallying to overturn a two-set deficit before being outdone in the fifth set. Photo. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

 

Electric fifth set

Nadal saved a breakpoint in the second game of the fourth set when Medvedev netted a backhand and a huge Nadal chant roared from the stands.

Medvedev denied Nadal on two break chances in the fifth game as the tension built. Then Nadal was broken in the 10th game to drop the set, Medvedev blasting a backhand return winner to complete a five-point run to force a fifth set.

Nadal battled through the second game of the final set, denying three Medvedev break chances to hold.

Nadal fired a backhand volley winner to break Medvedev for a 3-2 lead, stretching to reach the Russian’s drop volley and flicking a winner that brought a roar from the crowd.

Chants of “Ra-fa” echoed through the stadium as he held to 4-2 and Medvedev sent an overhead smash beyond the baseline to hand the Spaniard a break for a 5-2 edge.

Nadal served for the match but Medvedev took a break to 5-3 when umpire Ali Nili issued Nadal a time violation for his first serve and the Spaniard sent his second serve long, the crowd booing Nili for his violation call.

Nadal had two break and match points in the ninth game, but Medvedev fired a backhand winner and Nadal netted a forehand return as the Russian held to 5-4 and the drama intensified.

Again serving for the match, Nadal rescued a breakpoint then hit a forehand drop volley for his third match point chance and took the victory when Medvedev sent a forehand return long.

Nadal screamed and fell to the court on his back after the epic showdown.

This year’s US Open set an all-time attendance record with 737,872 fans watching over the Flushing Meadows fortnight.

Rafael Nadal (R) alongside finalist Daniil Medvedev (L) and tennis champion Rod Laver (C) during the trophy presentation ceremony. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

AFP

Medvedev Fights Back To Force Fifth Set In US Open Final

Daniil Medvedev returns a shot during the fourth set of the match against Rafael Nadal. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev rallied from two sets down to send Sunday’s US Open final against 18-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal into a fifth set.

The Russian fifth seed broke Nadal with a sublime backhand return winner in the 10th game of the fourth set to take it 6-4 and keep alive his bid for a first Grand Slam title.

Nadal had raced to a two-set lead against the Russian fifth seed, winning the first set 7-5 and the second set 6-3.

The 33-year-old Spanish left-hander came into the match chasing his 19th career Grand Slam singles title, and his fifth championship match on the New York hardcourts.

It was all on course until Medvedev, 23, rallied to claim the third set 5-7, before forcing a fifth with a 6-4 triumph in the fourth set.

Victory would mark a first major title for the Russian.

Nadal is Medvedev’s fourth left-handed foe of the tournament and after a shaky start, he seem to have a better bearing of how to play the legendary Spaniard.

“It’s really unusual. I think this year before I’ve played like three lefties in all the year,” Medvedev said before the game. “Now I’ve played already three this tournament. Just amazing. But of course it helps a lot that I played three lefties before with completely different style. Kind of getting used to it. It’s going to help me.”

Medvedev had also envisaged that he might have an edge in having faced Nadal in Canada, even in defeat.

“It was a tough one,” Medvedev said. “His energy was much higher than mine. He kind of, I would say, had eaten me on the court.

“He was only going harder, harder, faster, stronger, and I was only going down. It’s great that I have this experience playing him in the final of a Masters. I know what to expect. I know how to prepare for it.”

Medvedev Wins Third Set Of US Open Final

Daniil Medvedev of Russia returns a shot during against Rafael Nadal of Spain during the game at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. Emilee Chinn/Getty Images/AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev claimed the third set 7-5 against Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s US Open final to stall the Spaniard’s bid for a 19th Grand Slam title.

Nadal claimed the first two sets against the Russian fifth seed but Medvedev, a first-time Grand Slam finalist, broke his rival in the 12th game to send the championship match to a fourth set.

READ ALSO: Nadal Takes Two-Set Lead In US Open Final

Nadal Takes Two-Set Lead In US Open Final

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates a point during the match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2019. AFP Photo.

 

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.”

Nadal Wins First Set Of US Open Final

Rafael Nadal of reacts during the 2019 US Open men’s Singles Finals match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 8, 2019. Johannes EISELE / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal claimed the opening set of Sunday’s US Open final against Daniil Medvedev 7-5 in the Spaniard’s pursuit of a 19th Grand Slam singles title.

The 33-year-old Nadal is seeking a fourth US Open crown — after wins in 2010, 2013 and 2017 — while Russian fifth seed Medvedev is appearing in his first major final.

READ ALSO: Nadal Chases 19th Grand Slam Title Against Medvedev

US Open: Nadal Chases 19th Grand Slam Title Against Medvedev

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his victory over Matteo Berrettini of Italy during their Singles Men’s Semi-finals match at the 2019 US Open on September 6, 2019. Johannes EISELE / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal looks to cap one of his greatest Grand Slam years with his fourth US Open title when he faces Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 33-year-old Spanish left-hander chases 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.

“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.”

Medvedev knows lefties

Nadal will be Medvedev’s fourth left-handed foe of the tournament.

“It’s really unusual. I think this year before I’ve played like three lefties in all the year,” Medvedev said. “Now I’ve played already three this tournament. Just amazing. But of course it helps a lot that I played three lefties before with completely different style. Kind of getting used to it. It’s going to help me.”

Medvedev also sees an edge in having faced Nadal in Canada, even in defeat.

“It was a tough one,” Medvedev said. “His energy was much higher than mine. He kind of, I would say, eaten me on the court.

“He was only going harder, harder, faster, stronger, and I was only going down. It’s great that I have this experience playing him in the final of a Masters. I know what to expect. I know how to prepare for it.”

Nadal sees little to take from a windy Montreal win given the likely lack of breezes in the big stadium.

“Here the wind is not there. Of course, it helps little bit,” Nadal said. “But I think he’s making the steps forward every single day.”

AFP

Nadal Chases 19th Slam Crown Against Medvedev At US Open

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during his Men’s Singles semi-final match against Matteo Berrettini of Italy on day twelve of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 06, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

 

Rafael Nadal looks to cap one of his greatest Grand Slam years with his fourth US Open title when he faces Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 33-year-old Spanish left-hander chases 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.

“Very happy for everything. Another final of the Grand Slam and another final here in Flushing Meadows means a lot to me,” Nadal said.

“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.”

READ ALSO: Euro 2020 Qualifier: Kane Hits Hat-Trick As England Thrash Bulgaria

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.

“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.”

Medvedev knows lefties 

Nadal will be Medvedev’s fourth left-handed foe of the tournament.

“It’s really unusual. I think this year before I’ve played like three lefties in all the year,” Medvedev said. “Now I’ve played already three this tournament. Just amazing. But of course it helps a lot that I played three lefties before with completely different style. Kind of getting used to it. It’s going to help me.”

Medvedev also sees an edge in having faced Nadal in Canada, even in defeat.

“It was a tough one,” Medvedev said. “His energy was much higher than mine. He kind of, I would say, eaten me on the court.

“He was only going harder, harder, faster, stronger, and I was only going down. It’s great that I have this experience playing him in the final of a Masters. I know what to expect. I know how to prepare for it.”

Nadal sees little to take from a windy Montreal win given the likely lack of breezes in the big stadium.

“Here the wind is not there. Of course, helps little bit,” Nadal said. “But I think he’s making the steps forward every single day.”

AFP