This is not a dream match but not a bad consolation either! Just when the whole world was getting ready for a mouth-watering clash of the legends Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro upset the calculations.
The US Open men’s top-half semi-final which was supposed to be between the two contemporary legends will now be played between Nadal and Del Potro. But, make no mistake as it is still going to be a cracker of a game at the Arthur Ashe on Friday night.
Nadal’s best chance?
The Spaniard world number one had one huge obstacle in his path to the US Open and that has been cleared by his semis opponent. His path to the semis was almost routine although the two-time US Open winner had his moments of discomfort losing a set each in the second and third rounds.
However, Nadal’s class came into the fore in the last couple of matches. Especially against the talented Andrey Rublev in the semis whom he decimated for just the loss of five games.
Write Del Potro off at your own peril!
If Nadal is expecting any more favours from Del Potro – apart from knocking off Roger – he is in for a big shock. The Argentine is a brilliant fighter having shown his qualities to fight from the brink of defeats.
He was dead and buried against Dominic Thiem in the quarters going 2-0 down. How he could muster a way back to an exciting win was just phenomenal! Similarly, against Roger in the semis where Del Potro showed that he still is a force to reckon on his favourite surface.
Stats and key battles
Both players love the stateside with Nadal boasting a 46-10 lifetime record and Del Potro winning his only Grand Slam to date in 2009. Nadal holds an 8-5 life-time record over his opponent but the Argentine has won the last two encounters.
Interestingly, all five Del Potro victories have come on the hard courts – a surface that suits his game perfectly. It may well turn out to be a strategic battle as Nadal would be keen to avoid the booming forehand of the tall Argentine.
Where’s your money?
Not the encounter that New York – and the whole world – was looking forward to but don’t count this out yet. This match promises to be as exciting – if not more – as any in this year’s final Grand Slam.
Nadal’s form in the tournament tempts us to back him although Del Potro’s attacking game is coming together at the right time. The Spaniard is physically stronger, has a wider array of strokes and has a ferociousness to his game that makes him the favorite at odds of 1.36 (Ladbrokes).
But, there are very few – if any – who play the game with more heart than Del Potro making him the underdog at odds of 3.70 (Sportsbet).
There is no true favorite here as both would go about their business with equal ferocity. The best tip looks to be over 3.5 sets which is offered at odds of 1.65 (Crownbet).
Whoever you are supporting, make sure you don’t miss this match because it promises to be another humdinger!