Sunday 10th September. 9PM. Eurosport
After a strange but fascinating fortnight in New York, just two men remain in the hunt for the final Grand Slam trophy of 2017. And at the start of the year, very few would have predicted this pair.
Sunday’s showpiece at the Arthur Ashe Stadium sees a resurgent Rafael Nadal bid for the perfect end to what has been a great comeback year while South Africa’s Kevin Anderson aims for an upset in his first ever Grand Slam final.
Whatever happens, it should be a thrilling spectacle.
Can Rafa Make It 16?
Spanish superstar Nadal has already enjoyed a phenomenal 2017, becoming the first man to ever win 10 titles at one Grand Slam event (his favoured French Open) to go second on the list of serial Slam winners. Moreover, having failed to reach a single final in 2015 and 2016, this will be his third of the calendar year.
The powerful left-hander should be confident about picking up a second Grand Slam of the year too. Not only he is the far more experienced man on the big stage, but he has coasted his way to Sunday’s event and holds a 100% record over his opponent.
At 31, it had looked as though injuries had taken their toll but Nadal is now playing close to what he was in his prime, which is underlined by his No.1 world ranking. After three failed attempts of even reaching the last eight at Flushing Meadows, he’ll be fancied to finally complete a hat-trick of U.S Open titles.
Despite his power, class, and experience, though, Anderson won’t go down without a fight.
Pressure Off Anderson The Underdog
Like Nadal, Anderson has been the beneficiary of several withdrawals. Nonetheless, nothing should be taken away from the South African, who has found his way to the final without needing a fifth set in any of his matches. Having said that, Sunday’s showdown will be another level of challenge altogether.
Before this week, Anderson hadn’t even reached the last four of a Grand Slam, with his 2015 quarter-final at this same event being his best previous showing. At 31, this may be his only chance to get his hands on major title, and he’ll be eager to grab that opportunity with both hands.
The world number 32 will be under no illusions, and knows how difficult this test will be. Nevertheless, he has threatened to join the elite group of players on several occasions over the last few years while his serve will always carry a threat.
After being a consistent top 20 player for nearly five years, will this be his time to shine? Or will Nadal’s quality prove to be too much.
U.S Open Men’s Final Betting: Nadal v Anderson Betting Tips
Unsurprisingly, Nadal is the overwhelming favourite on Sunday and is priced just 1/8 to get the job done with Ladbrokes. Anderson, meanwhile, is the rank outsider at 11/2.
Nadal has been brilliant all year, but he hasn’t always started brilliantly over the past fortnight. All three of the sets he has dropped in this tournament have been the match openers and, while we still expect him to win the first on Sunday, it suggests that he may need time to get into full swing.
With Anderson serving well, we’re backing it to be all square after six games.
Nonetheless, experience should shine through. Once Nadal gets his nose in front, it’ll be hard to envisage a fight back from Anderson. While the South African’s spirit won’t be broken, the world number one has more than enough quality to run away with it.