US Open Tennis 2013: Breaking Down Men's Semifinal Clashes

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer ISeptember 7, 2013

Sep 2, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Rafael Nadal (ESP) celebrates after defeating Philip Kohlschreiber (GER) on day eight of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The top two players in the world, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, will vie for a place in the 2013 U.S. Open final on Saturday.

Djokovic just defeated Mikhail Youzhny in four sets. He will battle with Stanislas Wawrinka.

Nadal exploded past Tommy Robredo in the quarterfinals. He will take on Richard Gasquet in the semifinals. 

Both Wawrinka and Gasquet have defeated Top 10 players en route to the semifinals. Wawrinka is coming off a victory over world No. 3 Andy Murray, while Gasquet just defeated world No. 4 David Ferrer.

In a day that promises to deliver plenty of exciting action, here's my breakdown of the men's semifinals at the 2013 U.S. Open.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Stanislas Wawrinka (9)

Stanislas Wawrinka has defeated Novak Djokovic twice in 14 career matchups. 

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When was his last victory against the world No. 1?

The year 2006.

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement for the 28-year-old from Switzerland.

That being said, there is a little room for a letdown from Djokovic. The 26-year-old Serb has only played one seeded player in the 2013 U.S. Open so far, flying through Ricardas Berankis, Benjamin Becker, Joao Sousa and Marcel Granollers before defeating No. 21 seed Mikhail Youzhny.

On the flip side, practically every match has been a battle for Wawrinka. His match against Marcos Baghdatis lasted 3 hours 21 minutes, and he's defeated No. 5 seed Tomas Berdych and No. 3 seed Andy Murray since. He is currently in great form.

It's also worth noting that Wawrinka gave Djokovic a scare in an epic five-setter this year at the Australian Open that lasted five hours. The final score read: 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 12-10. 

This is no easy match for Djokovic.

In the end, I expect Djokovic to survive another nail-biter against Wawrinka before going on to the final.

Prediction: Djokovic 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4

Richard Gasquet (8) vs. Rafael Nadal (2)

Gasquet—like Wawrinka—has defeated some formidable opponents at the 2013 U.S. Open, including No. 10 Milos Raonic and No. 4 seed David Ferrer. 

Of course, the 27-year-old Frenchman has also gone 0-10 lifetime against Nadal...so there's that.

Nadal is coming off a convincing victory over No. 19 seed Tommy Robredo amidst one of the best years of his career. The 12-time Grand Slam singles champion was 53-3 with nine singles titles coming into the U.S. Open this year—that included a French Open title.

Gasquet has had an impressive year in 2013—going 34-14 with two singles titles—but his history against Nadal is too hard to ignore, let alone in one of Nadal's best years ever.

Gasquet will take one set, but that will be all.

Prediction: Nadal 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

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