US Open Tennis 2013 Finals: Last-Minute Predictions for Singles Championships
The 2013 U.S. Open will conclude with the singles championships on Sunday and Monday at Flushing Meadows.
Sunday's women's final will pit the two best players in the world, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, against one another, and the theme will continue on Monday, when top-ranked men's superstars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal face off in their sixth Grand Slam final since 2010.
All four contenders have been playing exceptional tennis to this point, but something's got to give.
Here, we'll get you set for the two most anticipated matches at the 2013 U.S. Open with some last-minute predictions for each.
Women's Final: Serena Williams (1) vs. Victoria Azarenka (2)
When: Sunday, September 8 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing, N.Y.
Serena Williams will look to repeat as U.S. Open women's champion on Sunday in Queens. But in her way is the same opponent who pushed her to three sets in last year's final, world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka.
The top rivalry in women's tennis will be renewed on Sunday, but don't expect a much different result than the one we saw in 2012.
While Williams has had her fair share of struggles against the younger Azarenka on hard courts this year, losing to her in finals at Doha and Cincinnati, she has looked the more consistently dominant player over the past two weeks.
Who will win the 2013 U.S. Open women's championship?
Williams has yet to drop a set at the 2013 U.S. Open, losing just 16 total games through six matches. In her most recent outing against fifth-seeded Li Na, Williams showed why she is the No. 1 player in the women's game. Both she and Li put 63 percent of their first serves in play, but Williams was able to win 73 percent of those points, compared to just 50 percent for Li.
So while Azarenka has the strength and stamina to go the distance with the 16-time Grand Slam champion, she doesn't possess a weapon quite like Williams' serve.
The 31-year-old American leads the overall head-to-head with Azarenka 12-3 and is 7-0 against her at Grand Slams. Therefore, it will be up to the 24-year-old Belarusian to prove she can knock off the world's best on the sport's grandest stage.
But that's a tall task for any player.
Prediction: Serena Williams def. Victoria Azarenka; 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
Men's Final: Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Rafael Nadal (2)
When: Monday, September 9 at 5 p.m. ET
Where: Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing, N.Y.
For the sixth time in three years, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will go head-to-head in a Grand Slam final, much to the delight of tennis fans everywhere.
It's been three months since the two rivals' last Grand Slam matchup, an epic five-setter in the 2013 French Open semifinals at Roland Garros. And if Monday's final is anything close to that match, or their unforgettable 2012 Australian Open showdown, tennis fans won't want to miss it.
As far as the matchup goes, I look for Djokovic to have the edge.
While there's no doubt Rafa is playing the best hard-court tennis of his career at the moment, Djokovic is battle-tested and appears more prepared for a dogfight in the final following Saturday's comeback win over Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals.
Djokovic also leads the head-to-head with Rafa 11-6 on hard courts and 3-2 in Grand Slam finals.
Look for the world No. 1 to give Nadal problems in his service game for the first time all tournament. The Spaniard has for the most part cruised on serve since the opening round, but Djokovic is the best returner in the men's game, breaking his opponents a combined 38 times through the first six rounds in Queens.
Who will win the 2013 U.S. Open men's championship?
Of course, it must be mentioned that Nadal is 21-0 on hard courts in 2013. But while Rafa is clearly in better form than his Serbian rival, Djokovic is on his preferred surface and playing with very little to lose, having dropped five of his last six meetings with Nadal.
Djokovic doesn't have to win three consecutive sets against Rafa in order to win the championship—just three out of five. And like he showed in the semifinals, he's capable of digging deep, overcoming his nerves and making something out nothing, even when he's off his game.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic def. Rafael Nadal; 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
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