US OPEN 2013
Nadal Sets Djokovic Final Duel
New York, U.S.A.
by ATP Staff|
Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a second US Open title with another straight-sets victory, in Saturday's semi-finals. The 2010 champion survived a stern test from No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-2 in two hours and 21 minutes. Nadal advances to an 18th Grand Slam final, which ties him with Pete Sampras for third-most in history, behind only Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl.
Nadal extended his burgeoning hard court winning streak in 2013 to 21-0 and improved to an impressive 16-1 against Top 10 opponents with the win. The Spaniard is 11-0 against Gasquet, who was competing in just his second Grand Slam semi-final, having advanced as far at Wimbledon in 2007. With consecutive five-set triumphs, in the fourth round and quarter-finals, the World No. 9 became the first Frenchman to reach the semis in New York since Cedric Pioline did so 14 years ago.
Nadal was happy to advance to the final without dropping a set and his focus is on a second US Open crown. "I'm going to try my best to win on Monday. What makes the difference is to win the US Open...For me the only important thing is the US Open. That's the most important thing."
Gasquet remained strong after dropping the first set, handing his childhood rival his first break of the tournament at 2-1 in the second set. The Mallorca native saw his consecutive service holds streak at the US Open snapped at 73 in a row. After facing a combined six break points entering today, Nadal saved four of five in the first two sets. A Gasquet double fault to open the second set tie-break would set the tone as Nadal raced to a 6-1 lead, converting on his first set point with another double fault by the Frenchman.
The 12-time major champion secured an early break in the third set and maintained his stranglehold from there, clinching the victory with yet another Gasquet double fault on his first match point. Nadal has advanced to the final in 12 of 13 tournaments this year and will look to win title No. 10 on Monday.
Nadal will face Novak Djokovic in the final after the Serb denied the upset bid of Stanislas Wawrinka earlier in the day. The top seed edged the Swiss in a thrilling five-setter to advance to his fourth consecutive US Open final. It will be the 37th meeting between the Serb and the Spaniard and fourth of 2013. Nadal won their most recent Grand Slam encounter 9-7 in a fifth set at Roland Garros earlier this year.
"It is good if both of us are playing at a very high level so the match becomes great because we play long rallies, we bring our game and it becomes a very difficult match for both of us," Nadal said. "I hope to be ready for that. I'm going to try. I need to keep playing very aggressive and play a very, very good match. Only like this I'm going to have a chance."
Djokovic will remain at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings regardless of Monday's result, but the race for Year-End No. 1 is heating up.