The men’s semifinalists are set for Friday; few would have predicted this cast of players. Yet, we have been talking about the changing of the guards for a while now as the dominant three are getting up in age, so probably this cast should not come as a surprise.  Novak Djokovic (SRB) fell victim to injury and  Stan Wawrinka (SUI).  Roger Federer (SUI) also fell victim to injury and a resurgent  Grigor Dimitrov (BUL).
Nadal, The Only One Left
Nevertheless,  Rafael Nadal (ESP) is not yet ready to relinquish his position and these younger players will have to wrestle it away from him. Frankly, I did not expect Nadal to get this far given his recent issues with his knees; however, that is why we admire him, his never quit attitude got him through his match against  Diego Schwartzman (ARG). 4-0 up in the first set and serving to go up 5-0, Nadal lost his way, played too tentatively and Schwartzman sensing his opportunity, elevated his game to even the set 4-4. Nadal fought through the dip in his level and won the first set 6-4. Yet, he had the same issues in the second set, at 5-1 up Nadal again looked to be in a commanding position, but once again he lost his focus and perhaps a little doubt crept into his mind. Nadal could not serve it out twice as Schwartzman broke him in consecutive games (just as he did in the first set) to even the set at 5-5.
Pressure Played A Role
Everyone is susceptible to the negative effects of pressure and even a multiple major champion like Nadal is not exempt from feeling tension. It did not help the Spaniard that the humid conditions were causing him to sweat even more profusely than normal, add that to his pesky opponent across the net and it was a very difficult match for the Spaniard. He certainly will not be pleased that he dropped serve so many times, which prolonged his time on court and ultimately led to his having cramps in the third set. For all his knee issues though, this is the best year at the majors that the Spaniard has had since 2008. He may have struggled, but his determination carried him to the 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 victory and another major semifinal.
Dimitrov Looking For A Breakthrough
Dimitrov may have had the biggest win of his career two nights ago, because he had never defeated Federer in seven previous attempts and given his recent struggles, that victory may be what turns his season around. He is the only other player left in the draw that has made it to the semifinals of a major.
First Time Major Semifinalists
First time major semifinalists,  Daniil Medvedev (RUS) and  Matteo Berrettini (ITA) will have to battle the nerves of the occasion as well as their respective opponent to get to their first major final. Will Nadal be able to withstand the charge of the powerful Italian? Medvedev is banged up and has support tape on his thighs and right arm, what threat can he pose for Dimitrov?
More Than A Major Title
This is an opportunity for each of these four players, but it may be historically more significant for Nadal, who wants to surpass Federer’s record (20 major titles). So, the pressure Nadal is feeling may be in part due to the realization of the opportunity at hand.
Each player will have to battle nerves and potentially the weather conditions and the player that manages to do this best will be the 2019 US Open champion. Thus, in the end, it comes down to mental and physical fitness.
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