Nadal runs del Potro off his feet, reaches the final

US Open champion Rafael Nadal calls 2017 'one of the best of his career'

With four titles this year, including a grand slam at Roland Garros, Nadal has the momentum going into the match and with a comprehensive 4-0 winning record against the South African, will be heavy favourite to lift his third U.S. Open title.

If someone had suggested in the beginning of the year that Roger Federer would win two Grand Slams and Rafael Nadal would take another (and possibly a second), we probably would have rolled our eyes.

He is the world number one playing in his 23rd Grand Slam final, and who won his first major as a 19-year-old at the sixth attempt. While the match produced gorgeously competitive points nearly to the end, there was no question who was dictating overall pace and play, as the Spaniard went 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 after dropping the first set 4-6.

He was expected to have been pushed hard by 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro, who knocked out Federer in the last eight, when they met in Friday's semi-finals.

There were signs of life in the fourth game when Del Potro saved two break points to finally hold serve for the first time since the opening set, ending Nadal's run of nine successive games.

"Then I was more unpredictable and he was in more trouble, because he didn't know where to go", Nadal explained later.

Anderson is 0-4 against Nadal, losing their most recent clash in Barcelona this year as the Spaniard swept regally through the European clay court swing.

Nadal, the sixth and most recent left-hander to win a US Open title, added another crown at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2013, again downing the Serbian star in the final.

It was early in his career when Nadal began his habit of biting the championship trophies he wins.

Both men are 31 years old but have little else in common. "I need to play with the right energy and I need to increase the level of my game, ' and I know that", Nadal said.

Anderson seized the opportunity, eventually reaching the final after beating Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in the first semifinal. Soderling had never won even a third-round match at a major before that tournament.

Now Anderson is set to become the first South African to contest a US Open final for 52 years and, at 32 in the world, the lowest ranked player to make the final in the Big Apple since the introduction of the computer ranking system in 1973.

Nadal and the rest of the field were dealt a hefty slice of luck before the tournament due to the injury withdrawals of big guns including Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori.

The key for Anderson pulling the upset will be to win the first set. The South African won 83 percent of his first serve points and had 22 aces Friday. Anderson arrived "voracious" to "suck the marrow out of life", ready to "milk the experience for all it's worth", Dancer said, and he also "ate the dorms out of all their food" to gain 35 pounds. "Great heart. I think one of the reasons he fit very well in Champaign was his blue-collar work ethic". They get too nervous, Anderson explained, and wait to watch a replay.

"I will be very excited come Sunday".

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