US OPEN Live : Rafael Nadal will contest the U.S. Open title for a fifth time on Sunday against Grand Slam final debutant Daniil Medvedev, who is out to crown a successful 2019 with his maiden major.
Nadal, 33, won his third U.S. Open in New York two years ago and returns to the final at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center after defeating 24th seed Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-1 in the semis.
Medvedev has made it past the fourth round of a major for the first time in his career and faces a stiff task attempting to stop Nadal, who is chasing his 19th Grand Slam.
He beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-3 in Friday’s semi-final and is on the cusp of his biggest career accolade by a wide distance.
The Spaniard won his 12th French Open in June and lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, showcasing form to suggest he won’t stop adding to his trophy cabinet any time soon.
Date: Sunday, September 8
Time: 4 p.m. ET/9 p.m. BST
Live Stream: Amazon Prime, Watch ESPN (U.S.)
TV Info: ESPN (U.S.)
The 2019 U.S. Open will not be broadcast on television in the United Kingdom, although Amazon Prime will provide live-stream coverage of the tournament.
Medvedev, 23, has emerged as the latest Next Gen prospect to challenge Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer, but the star trio have continued to thrive on the biggest stages in 2019.
The three veterans have accounted for six of the eight finalists at Grand Slams this year, with French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem the only other player along with Medvedev to contest a decider.
Injuries have taken their toll on Nadal for portions of his career, but he looks as good physically of late as he did in his earlier years.
ESPN Stats & Info highlighted his longevity and even improvement during his most recent years:
The second-round walkover against Thanasi Kokkinakis was a welcome blessing for Nadal, one that will have aided him racking up a record of four straight-sets wins in five matches at Flushing Meadows.
Though a decade younger, Medvedev will likely feel more drained after playing six matches—four of those went to four sets, while he defeated Dimitrov and Prajnesh Gunneswaran in three.
The clean sweep of Dimitrov in particular bodes well for the Russian ahead of his first major final:
Medvedev appears a confident character and didn’t seem fazed when he was booed by the U.S. Open crowd during his 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 third-round win over Feliciano Lopez:
He could thrive as an underdog in what will be his first experience feeling pressure of this magnitude. Nadal, meanwhile, prepares for his 27th major final and returns to the scene of his 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 hammering of Kevin Anderson to take the 2017 title.
Medvedev has enjoyed the best year of his career thus far and has had particular success in North America-based tournaments, reaching finals in Washington, Montreal and Cincinnati (where he won).
He’s beaten the likes of Djokovic, Thiem and Marin Cilic in recent months. However, Jose Morgado underlined Nadal’s renewed form in 2019 as he seeks to end 2019 as world No. 1:
A shorter match suits the veteran and could give Nadal the best chance of utilising any extra energy he’s got in reserve. Medvedev may be more tentative expending stamina early on, and Nadal’s speed is sure to throw off Medvedev’s awkward style.
Nadal breezed past the Russian 6-3, 6-0 to win the Montreal Open in August, and another straight-sets swatting could be on the cards if he finds his rhythm early.
Pick: Rafael Nadal to win in three sets.