US Open Tips: Day 14 – Men’s Final

Sloane Stephen’s was the newest addition to the list of Grand Slam winners and Kevin Anderson will be looking to join her when he takes on world number 1 and 15 time Grand Slam winner – Rafael Nadal.

Day 14: Men’s Final Preview

Rafael Nadal v Kevin Anderson
On paper Anderson does not stand a chance. He is 0-4 lifetime against Nadal, is in his maiden Grand Slam final and has not won a title of any sort since 2015. There is one big difference between the position he is in when compared to other players who made their major final debut. Raonic was the last player to make his slam debut but he had to defeat 4 seeded players including Roger Federer to make the final. Going further back Nishikori registered back to back wins over Raonic, Wawrinka and Djokovic at the 2014 US Open before running out of gas against Cilic in the final.

Anderson has not had to expend the same amount of energy (both physically and mentally) to get to this stage and The Wolf says the key to his success is the fact that he has been under no illusion as to the advantageous run he has had. In his on court interview following his semi final win he thanked the guys who weren’t there for giving the others a chance this week. He was referring to the names absent from the tournament – Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka, Nishikori and Raonic. It is this mentality which has allowed him to make his run at Flushing Meadows. He has been playing like a man with nothing to lose and needs to play just the one amazing match to win a Grand Slam. Carreno-Busta and Querrey were the highest ranked players he had to face (19th and 21st) and that is unheard of when making a charge to the final of a major. Rafa is a big step up and he will have to swing for the fences in an attempt to play the match on his terms.

The Wolf says we don’t need to analyse the game of Rafa as we know exactly what we are going to get. He will give 100% in every point of the match and when faced with adversity he will dig deeper and find a solution. It has been the case in many of his matches at this year’s US Open. He drooped the opening set in three of his matches but managed to immediately flick the switch and reel off the next three sets. It’s a dangerous pattern and he will not want to give Anderson any confidence. Rafa has been playing very conservative in the opening stages of his matches and The Wolf believes Anderson will get his chance to play on the front foot early.

Rafa will look to pepper the Anderson backhand but the South African has been very steady off that wing and we have seen him go up the line with it which could cause Rafa some problems. It is no secret that the Anderson serve is the key stroke in this match. He has been almost perfect on serve throughout the tournament making 66% of 1st serves and winning a remarkable 83% of those points. The number that is likely to play an even bigger role is his ability to win points behind his second ball. If he can replicate his 57% average for the tournament he will win this match.

Wolfy is expecting this match to take a similar path to the preceding Nadal matches. Anderson will serve his way through the first set before a huge response from Nadal. At a set all Anderson will need to play the set of his life to take a two sets to one lead and give himself a chance of winning. If Rafa gets the upper hand at any point it will be curtains.
Best: Over 36.5 games ($1.85)


US Open Tips: Day 13 (Women’s)

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