Rafael Nadal soars into US Open final, will face Kevin Anderson

By @saihoops on
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Sept 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain hits to Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine (not pictured) in Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. USA TODAY Sports / Robert Deutsch

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will have the opportunity to claim Grand Slam title No. 16 Sunday when he faces South African veteran Kevin Anderson in the 2017 US Open final. Nadal overcame the monumental threat posed by Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 on Friday (Saturday in Australia) to clinch a berth in the final.

After dropping the first set to the big-serving Argentine, Nadal responded with a severe counterattack in the second set as the momentum shifted firmly in the Spaniard's favour. Nadal breezed through the third and fourth sets to put away Del Potro, the man who ousted Roger Federer in Wednesday's semi-final. 

Nadal will finish 2017 having reached the finals of three of the four grand slams. After losing a five-set classic to Federer at Melbourne Park, Nadal stormed to a tenth French Open title without dropping a set before suffering a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon. By hoisting the trophy on Sunday, Nadal would cap off one of the best years of his illustrious career -- less than a year after a chronic wrist injury threatened to end his career.

2017 US Open final: Will Rafael Nadal capture Grand Slam No. 16?

“After a couple of years with injuries, some troubles, a very emotional time, it is amazing to be back, very important for me. I played a couple of matches so-so, but the last three matches have been very positive, and this one was the best one for me. I have the passion to play with full energy, and to come back here many years," Nadal, a former two-time US Open champion (2010 and 2013), said.

Earlier, Anderson continued his dreamy run at Flushing Meadows by defeating in-form Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to seal a spot in Sunday's final. The 28th-seeded Anderson became the first South African to reach a US Open final since Cliff Drysdale in 1965. 

Nadal, the overwhelming favourite, has no intention to underestimate Anderson, the lowest-ranked US Open finalist since the ATP rankings began in 1973. “He is a huge player, with unbelievable serve. And he plays so well on this surface. He had some injuries but was able to back and play the best tennis of his career. I have known him since we were 12 years. Great to see him in the final.”

Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys will square off for the women's singles championship on Saturday (Sunday in Australia). It will be the first all-American final at Flushing Meadows since the Williams sisters met for the 2002 US Open championship. 

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