21:00 – Nadal v Djokovic
Rankings are 1 and 3. Head to heads are 14-7 to Nadal, though Djokovic has won their last 3 matches.
Not the final everyone expected but Djokovic thoroughly deserves his place. He had a much tougher semi than Nadal and has had less time to recover.
This is surprisingly Nadal’s first appearance in the US Open Final and he certainly won’t want to miss his first chance to take this title.
Djokovic invested so much mentally in his semi final. Perhaps in his mind, briefly, he thought he had lost when Fed has 2 match points at 5-4. The Serbian player looked like he couldn’t believe he had won.
Djokovic needs to get off to a quick start in the final because if this goes to 4 or 5 sets I feel he will run out of steam. Nadal starts at 1.37 and I expect that to trade higher in the first set.
They hold serve 91% and 85%. They both save 70% of break points against them. Djokovic has struggled with his serve lately but it was working extremely well against Federer.
Djokovic has been returning better than Nadal.
I feel the deciding factor today will be Djokovic’s ability to recover. He will be emotionally drained from the semi final. A rain delay ( there has been talk of the final not happening until Monday) will help Djokovic.
I think the first set will be close and laying Nadal from the start is an option. It could be a tie break in the first set. Other than that, backing both on serve is an option while he prices are above 1.40 .
If Djokovic can take the first set then he is in with a great chance but I think it might be too big a mountain for him mentally to come from behind. The longer the match goes on Nadal’s fitness will grind his opponent down and I expect Nadal to take a tight match in 4 or 5 sets.
Update: Nadal won 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.