The men’s US Open final takes place on Sunday night when two former champions meet to enhance their legacy when Juan Martin del Potro takes on the Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic for the prized title in New York.
Arthur Ashe Stadium and the whole of the tennis public is still reeling from Serena Williams’ meltdown on Saturday evening but there is unlikely to be a repeat of that here between two of the best competitors in the game.
Juan Martin del Potro
The Argentine is back in the final of his favourite competition after coming through a tricky enough draw. Rafael Nadal aside he hasn’t had to face any elite players and he was helped by the injury that Nadal suffered. In saying that he has taken care of some competent challengers and he has done it with the minimum of fuss.
One positive for del Potro this fortnight has been the amount of power he has been prepared to put into his backhand. When he has got to the latter stages of tournaments against the big players he has been found wanting at times with his backhand clearly his weakest wing but he is going for it a lot more now and looks much better as a result.
We spent the early stages of this tournament wondering whether Novak Djokovic would be able to make it through. In at least three matches so far he has looked like he has been struggling physically in the heat and was ready to pass out at any point. He has made it through though and is ready to challenge for another Grand Slam title.
Djokovic looks to have improved with every match so far in the tournament and if he does that again he is going to be tough to stop. If there is an area of concern it would come in the form of his losing his concentration in a lot of matches this year but in fairness a lot of that could be down to the level of the opponent. He’ll take del Potro seriously.
Head to Head
These two have met 18 previous times but this is the first time they will do battle in a Grand Slam final. Djokovic holds a 14-4 career lead but on a hard court it is 10-3 to Djokovic. If we take their last meeting out on the clay del Potro has won at least a set in the last seven meetings between the two with a number of Djokovic wins going to a deciding set.
I think this is going to be a top class final. Djokovic is a worthy favourite but del Potro is afraid of nobody and lies down for no one either. The Arthur Ashe Stadium inspires del Potro and he’ll have the lion’s share of the crowd inside the arena and that could be telling if this match goes a long distance.
I expect there to be a fair bit in this final. There have been 10 or more games in seven of the last eight sets that these two have competed in on a hard court and with their tendency to not play out straight set matches on this surface the natural conclusion is to take over 39.5 games. Four sets should be enough based on their recent meetings.
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