Nadal Eyes Third US Open against Anderson

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Rafael Nadal

World No 1 Rafael Nadal has vowed to “fight to win another title” at the US Open as he prepares to take on surprise package Kevin Anderson in today’s final.

The Spaniard is odds-on favourite to beat Anderson and win his first major title away from the French Open since the second of his titles in New York in 2013 and match Roger Federer by claiming two Grand Slams this season.

Nadal has played himself into sparkling form at Flushing Meadows and romped home against Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals as he recovered superbly from losing the first set, dropping just five games in the next three sets.

Ahead of his 23rd slam final, Nadal, the US Open champion in 2010 and 2013, said: “For me, what is more important, more than winning Grand Slams, is to be happy. I am happy if I am healthy, and happy if I feel competitive in 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 happened to me and I am going to fight to win another title here.”

First-time finalist Anderson, was the man to take advantage of the open bottom half of the draw, beating American hope Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals and then 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the last four.

After becoming the first South African player to reach a Grand Slam singles final since Kevin Curren made two in the mid-1980s, Anderson, who stands 6ft 8in, said: “It’s a very tough one. He’s a huge player with an unbelievable serve and he plays so well on these kinds of surfaces.

“He had some injuries so he’s a big example for the kids and for the rest of the tour, too. He was able to be back and play his best tennis now in his career so I’m happy for him because I’ve known him since we were 12 years old.
“It’s great to see him in a final of one of the most important events of the year.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I have worked really hard to get here. It’s great I have given myself a spot. I will be very excited come Sunday.”

Nadal and Anderson are both 31 – their birthdays separated by less than a month – and they have known each other for nearly 20 years.

Their paths since juniors have been very different, of course, Nadal winning his first Grand Slam title as a teenager and looking to add a 16th here.

Nadal has won all four of their previous meetings, Anderson managing just a single set, but the Spaniard is wary of his opponent’s aggressive game.

He said: “It’s a very tough one. He’s a huge player with an unbelievable serve and he plays so well on these kinds of surfaces.

“He had some injuries so he’s a big example for the kids and for the rest of the tour, too. He was able to be back and play his best tennis now in his career so I’m happy for him because I’ve known him since we were 12 years old.
“It’s great to see him in a final of one of the most important events of the year.”