Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson will battle it out for the 2017 U.S. Open men's title on Sunday, with the top seed eyeing his third title at Flushing Meadows, New York, while his opponent is going for his first-ever Grand Slam crown.
For Nadal, this is his third Grand Slam final of 2017, and the 23rd of his career, per ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Vamos Rafa! The No. 1 player in the world defeats Juan Martín del Potro to move to 23rd career Grand Slam final, 2nd most all-time. #USOpen https://t.co/rJmk5A9t852017-9-9 02:25:56
However, it is the first time in four years he has been in the final in New York, although the last time he made it, he went on to lift the title after beating Novak Djokovic, as noted by SuperSport:
Rafael Nadal has not reached the #USOpen final in four years. He went on to win the tournament in 2013. https://t.co/pdBFvp051L2017-9-8 18:00:46
If Nadal does taste victory against Anderson, he will join an exclusive list of players to have won three or more U.S. Open titles, as noted by ATP Media Info:
ATP Media Info @ATPMediaInfo
#Nadal looks to join list of 3-time @usopen champions in Open Era: .@JimmyConnors, @rogerfederer, Sampras 5 John McEnroe 4 Ivan Lendl 32017-9-9 03:09:04
Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch notes that the Spaniard's winning record is extraordinary when it comes to Grand Slam events:
Richard Deitsch @richarddeitsch
Rafa Nadal's Grand Slam singles record lifetime: 225-33 An .872 winning percentage. Ridiculous.2017-9-9 02:31:06
Anderson, meanwhile, will be facing a new experience having never even made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam before.
Tennis commentator David Law said it is evident just how much his superb run in his year's tournament in New York means to him:
Anderson almost apologetic about going into crowd to celebrate with his team. Personally like seeing how much it means to him.2017-9-8 23:27:00
Yet he will know Sunday's opponent very well, as Anderson's wife, Kelsey, has demonstrated on Twitter:
Kelsey Anderson @KelseyOAnderson
I'm just happy I have another excuse to share this adorable photo again 🔜 #usopen final!! https://t.co/OckNDPhnla2017-9-9 03:31:32
Anderson was ranked 28 for the tournament and is the lowest-ranked player to have reached the men's final at the U.S. Open since rankings were introduced, as noted by Stuart Fraser at The Times:
Stuart Fraser @stu_fraser
Kevin Anderson, the world No 32, is the lowest-ranked US Open men's singles finalist since the inception of the ATP rankings in 1973.2017-9-8 23:21:43
Nadal has grown in strength as the tournament has progressed, having dropped a set in both his first- and second-round wins.
Per the ATP World Tour, Nadal has never lost to Anderson, while a dominant performance against Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final means he will be the favourite to scoop a third title on Sunday.