Rafael Nadal Remains Heavy Favorite to Win 2013 US Open

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 02:  Rafael Nadal of Spain lines up to play a forehand against Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany during the fourth round match on Day Eight of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The 2013 U.S. Open has reached the semifinals, and Rafael Nadal is the heavy favorite to win the tournament.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic is still alive, but Nadal will still be favored to come out on top, with only two rounds remaining.

The 27-year-old has already won the French Open this year. It was the only Grand Slam tournament that he had gone deep into this year, and he has a chance to cap the year on a high note.

From 2008 to 2011, Nadal made it to at least the semifinals of the U.S. Open each year. He won the 2010 U.S. Open, so he is looking for his second title.

He certainly hasn't dominated the event in his career, but he is still the favorite to win this year.

Nadal has dropped only one of his 16 sets through the quarterfinals, and that set happened to be decided on a tiebreaker. 

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No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber, who is the only opponent to have won a set, and No. 19 Tommy Robredo each knocked out higher-ranked opponents the rounds before they faced Nadal. That made life easier for the second-ranked player.

He made it to the semifinals without having to face No. 4 David Ferrer or No. 7 Roger Federer. His matches have been fairly easy as a result.

On the other side of the draw, Djokovic has yet to drop a set but has been forced to a tiebreaker. 

His semifinal match against No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka should take a lot of energy out of both players, so the winner should be tired heading into the finals. Nadal, on the other hand, will face No. 8 Richard Gasquet, and Nadal is 10-0 against him in their professional careers. Gasquet has won only three sets, and none since 2008, in 10 matches between the pair.

Nadal will be rested entering his next match, so he will have an opportunity to get past a tired opponent. Gasquet blew a two-set lead against Ferrer in the quarterfinals, and he had to find a way to adjust to win in five sets, match stats courtesy of the official website of the U.S. Open.

Whoever Nadal faces in the finals will have to be prepared for a tough match. Nadal is 21-15 against Djokovic, including two consecutive wins and five of the last six. He is also 10-0 against Wawrinka.

Both of the top two players have won Grand Slam tournaments this year, and they are each hoping to capture a second title.

The Spaniard is on quite a roll right now. Check out this crazy stat about how dominant he has been in 2013:

That's a great sign for Nadal. Heading into this year, Djokovic had won four straight meetings between the two on hard surfaces. Nadal won the only meeting on a hard surface this year, so that stat heavily favors the 12-year pro.

Nadal has cruised through the first five rounds of this tournament. The left-hander has fared extremely well against everyone who remains, so he won't be intimidated by anyone he faces.

He may not be the No. 1 player in the world, but Nadal is the overwhelming favorite as the 2013 U.S. Open enters the semifinals.

*All stats are courtesy of ATPWorldTour.com unless otherwise noted.

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