Rafael Nadal Advances to US Open Final
(September 8, 2017) FLUSHING MEADOWS – No. 1 Rafael Nadal will be bidding to win a third US Open final on Sunday. The 15-time major champion will be going after his 16th slam title on Sunday after overwhelming 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 in Friday night’s semifinal.
This is Nadal’s third major final of the year – he lost in the final of the Australian Open to Roger Federer in January, and won the French Open in June over Stan Wawrinka.
It’s Nadal’s 15th straight win in a major semifinal since del Potro beat him in 2009 at the US Open.
“Important day for me. Important victory against a great opponent” said Nadal to media.
“He came to that match with confidence after beating Roger(Federer), Dominic(Thiem), too. A lot of the matches he played this tournament have been a tough one. But at the same time, I think I played a solid match.
“After the first set I changed it a little bit, changed my tactic, strategy change a little bit. And that makes the difference, no?
“I was not feeling bad the ball the first set, but I was wrong in the way that I was trying to play, no? When the match was coming, I started to understand a little bit better what I needed to do to try to be a little bit more unpredictable, because he was waiting for me in his backhand side.
“He was not moving from that side, so, yeah, I have to cover full court. He only had to cover 60% of the court most of the time, no?
“So was a big advantage for him. Then I decided to change completely to play much more forehands down the line, and then I was more unpredictable and he was more in trouble, because he didn’t know where to go, no?
“He arrived much more times running to his backhand, that then when he arrives running to his backhand is completely different than when he is waiting the ball there.
“And then, I don’t know the statistics, I didn’t see it, but I don’t feel I make many mistakes after that first set, and I really hit good winners. I served well. I served really well. In general terms, have been a great match. I’m very happy with the way I played.”
“Rafa just play even better the last three sets of the match, and I couldn’t hit my backhand as good as I did in the beginning of the match,” admitted del Potro.
“He’s a lefty player, so he couldn’t find easily my left side of the game. He played so smart from the second set till the end of the match.
“He was dominates every time of the match. He played well.”
“To be honest, I’m angry to lose a chance like this, but maybe tomorrow, after tomorrow, I will be calm and see how big the tournament was for me,” the Argentine admitted.
“I feel better with my backhand, but it’s not good enough to win a title like this or to win the top guys in a row. Depends of their game, too, because against Rafa, you must hit winners from both sides. I didn’t tonight. He played maybe 80% of the game to my backhand, and there is an advantage for him.”
“I been exhausted after Thiem match, Roger match,” said the 2009 US open champ. “I had flu during the week. So I had many problems before this match, but I was very motivate to play the semifinal in my best tournament.
“I think he just play better than me. He deserve to win, and I did all my best, all my effort to survive this match, but I couldn’t do well.”
“Today was the day to play the best match of the tournament since that moment, because I gonna play against the toughest opponent in that moment, and that opponent, as I said before, coming with big confidence,” said the two-time champion.
The Spaniard will be taking on No. 28 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa. Anderson defeated 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first major final. Nadal has 4-0 career record against Anderson.
Nadal was asked what it would mean to win two majors this year:
“I tell you, for me what is more important, more than win Slams is be happy. I am happy if I am healthy and happy, if I feel competitive in the most of the weeks that I am playing, and that’s what happened this year.
“So I am very happy about what happened, very happy to win Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Roland Garros. I am very happy to be in the final here in the US Open.
“Of course winning or losing that final is a big change, but I am very happy about all the things that happen to me and I am going to fight to win another title here. But still a great season for me. And as I tell you before, for me, more than winning Grand Slams or not, of course, if I win, I will be more happy but is about being healthy and feel myself well and competitive. That’s already happened in the whole season.”