We could hardly expect a more advantageous campaign for the Spaniard in the US Open. I’ll explain why down below, on an article that will allow you to understand why Rafa Nadal is such a big favourite to win this 2019 US Open…
Rafa Nadal on the way to his 4th US Open title: Form and schedule on his side
Besides having prepared for the tournament in the best possible way, with a victory on the Masters 1000 of Montreal and then having 2 weeks to rest, Rafa Nadal benefited from a very favourable draw to his ambitions.
On his half of the draw, the Spanish player avoided some well-known players like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev or Stan Wawrinka.
Naturally, that allows them to make a more peaceful campaign until the decisive stages, even because other potentially dangerous players such as Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem or Stefanos Tsitsipas were eliminated from the tournament early.
Besides that, the “King of Clay” benefited from the withdrawal of Thanasi Kokkinakis on a match of the 2nd round which means he reaches the final week of the tournament with 1 less match played than his biggest rivals.
So far, Rafael Nadal has gotten 3 victories and only dropped 1 set, precisely on the last round against the Croatian Marin Cilic, who was the first real test for him on the competition.
But returning to the rivals, last night brought some more encouraging news for the Spaniard because both Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer were eliminated on the quarterfinals against Daniil Medvedev and Grigor Dimitrov respectively.
Rafa Nadal on his way to his 4th US Open title: Slaughter amongst the chronical rivals
But the slaughter of rivals didn’t stop there, because 2 days ago, it was Novak Djokovic’s turn to abandon the competition after the loss against Stan Wawrinka.
The Serbian tennis player was showing problems on a shoulder since the 2nd match of the tournament, and the quality of Wawrinka allied to his physical limitation originated a withdrawal during the 3rd set of that encounter.
Therefore, the boogeymen of the other half of the draw for Rafael Nadal are practically out, which means there is only now a highly fatigued and with physical problems Daniil Medvedev, and a new version of Grigor Dimitrov that seems to be recovering his best level of tennis on the big stage.
The Bulgarian player has been going through hell this season with consecutive losses and a clear descent on the ATP rankings. However, the way he eliminated Roger Federer Roger Federer on the quarterfinals in 5 sets has provided a huge dose of confidence to a talented player that has a playstyle that traditionally causes some problems to Nadal.
Potentially easy path to the final
On the quarterfinals Rafa Nadal will face Diego Schwartzman, a small Argentinian player that is also a clay expert.
In fact, the playstyle of this tennis player is similar to Nadal’s style, being very consistent from the baseline and having great defensive qualities.
Unfortunately for the Argentinian, there is no one that utilizes that playstyle better than Nadal, and Rafa doesn’t usually have problems against this kind of players without the ability to accelerate the game, which means I don’t expect any problems for him in this duel.
At the moment, Nadal leads the head-to-head record against this player by clear 7-0 with 16 sets won and only 3 lost during that period.
Then, on the semi-finals, it will be either Gael Monfils or Matteo Berrettini appearing on the horizon and there I see that only the Italian might put the Spaniard in check.
In the jungle, the concrete jungle…
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2019
That’s because Gael Monfils is more a player that likes to defend and counterattack on his matches.
However, that’s a strategy that doesn’t work against Rafa Nadal and the historical record of 14-2 favouring the Spaniard against Lamonf is clearly indicative of that.
That way, honestly, I only see Matteo Berrettini as the only player with qualities to bother Rafael Nadal’s playstyle until the final
Firstly, because the two players have never faced each other previously, and secondly, because the Italian has an interesting variation in his game and an accelerating power that can cause problems to the Spaniard.
But for that to happen, Berrettini will have to go through Monfils and that won’t be easy considering the current moment of form of the French player.
Medvedev and Dimitrov looking to make history
With a spot ensured on the US Open’s semi-finals, Daniil Medvedev (4.50) and Grigor Dimitrov (6.00) are dreaming about reaching a Grand Slam final and, in fact, that isn’t a dream anymore, but an attainable objective that is only 1 match away.
Medvedev has been having an extraordinary season and he will be the favourite on that match, with odds of 1.50 on Bet365, but Dimitrov offers more variation in his game and, in case he is on a good day, he can very well win as the underdog, being currently priced at 2.40 on the top bookmakers.