Rafael Nadal is on an all-out rampage at the 2013 U.S. Open, and not even top-seeded Novak Djokovic will be able to stop the Spaniard.
Nadal ripped through Richard Gasquet in the semifinals on Saturday, cruising to a 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-2 victory. The only hint of drama came in the second set, but Nadal effectively squashed that by winning the tiebreaker 7-1. From there, it was smooth sailing for Nadal, who is looking for his second Grand Slam title of 2013.
Novak Djokovic is also looking for his second Grand Slam trophy of the season. Unfortunately for the world's highest ranked player, he is coming off an exhausting five-set thriller against Stanislas Wawrinka.
Wawrinka took the first set from Djokovic and continued to push him for most of the four-hour match. However, Djoker survived, escaping with a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
While Djokovic showed impressive resolve against Wawrinka, he is facing an entirely different animal in Nadal.
Rafa has only dropped one set throughout the entire tournament. He should be confident against Djokovic given their recent history. Nadal has won five of their last six matches, including a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) victory in their last battle on a hard court.
He will also have the benefit of rest. He had a much easier time than Djokovic in the semifinals, and although both men will have a day off to recuperate, Nadal should have a clear advantage in the fatigue department.
Djokovic was placed in a similar situation at Wimbledon this year, when he limped into the finals after a five-set marathon against Juan Martin del Potro. He was then eviscerated by a much fresher Andy Murray, falling in three sets.
I'm expecting a more competitive match on Monday, but Djokovic will be on the losing side once again. Nadal is simply playing too well right now. With the more well-rested legs, he should be able to overwhelm Djokovic athletically.
The Serb will make things interesting, but it will be Nadal who lifts the first-place trophy on Monday.