A thrill-filled fortnight of world-class tennis will come to a climax at Flushing Meadows on Sunday as Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka prepare to collide in the men's final of the 2016 U.S. Open.
Djokovic has made his way to New York with the vision of clinching his third U.S. Open title, and after defeating Roger Federer to win last year's final, he now has another Swiss sensation in his sights.
Wawrinka has picked his moment to make his first major final of 2016 and will look to shock the masses by sealing the last Grand Slam available this year in what will be his maiden U.S. Open final appearance.
Read on for a full preview of Sunday's showdown, complete with career stats, head-to-head record and a prediction for who will emerge victorious in the decider.
|Novak Djokovic vs. Stanislas Wawrinka Head-to-Head|
|Novak Djokovic||Statistic||Stanislas Wawrinka|
|6'2" (188 cm)||Height||6'0" (183 cm)|
|172 lbs (78 kg)||Weight||179 lbs (81 kg)|
|$102,813,310||Career Prize Money||$22,965,264|
While it's impossible to fight the fact Djokovic holds a convincing—even dominant—career record over Wawrinka, it's also worth noting things went in the Swiss' favour the last time they met in a final.
Djokovic has beaten Wawrinka on 19 occasions, according to the official ATP World Tour website, but the latter's 2015 Grand Slam victory at Roland Garros accounts for one of his four wins.
Two of Wawrinka's four victories over the Serbian have also come on clay, and the Swiss was forced to endure an eight-year wait between his second and third wins over Djokovic, losing 14 times to his foe between 2006 and 2014.
That knowledge of Djokovic's domination will take some overcoming if Wawrinka is to win the mental battle, and he's already expecting a tough task in that department, per tennis writer Christopher Clarey:
Djokovic has enjoyed a relatively simple run to this year's U.S. Open final, and quarter-final opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was his third opponent to have withdrawn either before or during their match.
Tennis writer Andrew Jerell Jones has previously touched upon the extra respite he's received as a result of those withdrawals as a critical factor in his stake for the title:
Nevertheless, Wawrinka has proved himself to be a major player on the biggest of stages, winning in both of the two Grand Slam finals in which he's appeared.
Djokovic, on the other hand, has lost in four U.S. Open finals, more than any other Grand Slam, and he recently spoke to the media regarding Wawrinka's ability to step up his game for the big occasions:
He's a big match player. He loves to play on the big stage, against big players, because that's when he elevates his level of performance.
He doesn't get too stressed by the big occasion. He's very powerful, big serve. Probably the best, most effective one-handed backhand in the world now. He can be very dangerous for everybody.
The Serbian won his first French Open crown earlier this year and will look to clinch another in 2017, but five years after winning his first U.S. Open, Djokovic is still working to win this trophy in successive years.
Wawrinka has dropped sets against four of his six opponents at this year's U.S. Open while Djokovic has been granted surplus rest, and all signs point to the latter adding to his Grand Slam collection in New York.
Prediction: Djokovic to win in four sets.