The number one seed’s, Rafael Nadal, plan of getting to his fourth US Open final and winning his third US Open title took a hit when the draw came out today. He will be tested right off the bat by Dusan Lajovic. The Serb has a big serve which can potentially threaten the Spaniard. Lurking in the third round potentially is his nemesis, Fabio Fognini. Or he can meet Alexandr Dolgopolov or Tomas Berdych, players that can defeat him if their games are on. He can also run into the in-form Grigor Dimitrov, a player who pushed him to five sets earlier this year at the Australian Open.
If Nadal makes it past those obstacles in his quarter, it does not get any easier. Lurking in the bottom quarter of his half of the draw is a bunch of opponents that can serve him off the court: Nick Kyrgios; Juan Martin Del Potro, Ivo Karlovic and Roger Federer to name a few. Nadal’s record recently in hard-court finals has been dismal. Despite making it to a slew of finals, he has not won a hard court title since his Doha title in 2014. This has to be concerning for Team Nadal. This year he lost three times to Roger Federer, all on hard court and he was destroyed in Acapulco by the big serving American, Sam Querrey. That was three hard court titles that he could not secure.
Kyrgios picked his pocket recently in straight sets at the Western & Southern Open in the quarterfinals. He suffered a surprising loss to the young Canadian, Denis Shapovalov, in Montreal; thus, while Nadal’s fans are cheering silently or not so silently for him to hoist his third US open trophy, history is not on our side. Unless Nadal has made some drastic change in his style of play since his loss to Kyrgios, this title will be a very difficult one for him to attain.
We know if it was based solely on guts and determination alone, the title would be his; we also know that Nadal will leave everything on the court in his attempt to win this last Major of the season. Yet, he will need a bit of luck and he must find a way to conserve his energy by winning his matches in three sets and avoid the mentally and physically draining chore of five set battles. Nadal needs to remember what he did differently those times he won big on hard court. Vamos Rafa!
SOURCE OF IMAGES: serveandrally