Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev will contest the final of the men's draw at the 2019 U.S. Open on Sunday. Both players have been in exceptional form at Flushing Meadows, but three-time winner Nadal has the edge in experience and is pursuing a 19th Grand Slam title.
Nadal last won this competition in 2017, but the Spaniard has rarely looked this good, dropping just one set en route to the final. It's been a similar story for Medvedev, although the Russian has trodden a more protracted path to the showpiece, being pushed to four sets on four separate occasions.
Medvedev's progress has still been impressive, particularly during the past two rounds, during which he saw off Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov, respectively.
Date: Sunday, September 8
Time: 4 p.m. ET/9 p.m. BST
TV Info: ESPN
Encore presentation available on ESPN2 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET Sunday. Also available on the Tennis Channel from 11 a.m. ET Monday, September 9.
Nadal will be fancied to triumph, yet the 33-year-old is taking nothing for granted against a player enjoying the kind of purple patch Medvedev is experiencing.
Medvedev's list of vanquished opponents is not lost on Nadal, who applauded his opponent's achievements in 2019, per Kevin Mitchell of The Observer:
"His summer is almost perfect: final in Washington (where he lost to Nick Kyrgios), final in Montreal (where Nadal beat him 6-3, 6-0), winning Cincinnati (in two sets against David Goffin after beating Djokovic in the semis), final here. He is the player who is in the best shape on tour. I will face the player who is winning more matches than anyone else this year (44 of 60), the player who is playing at the highest level."
A formidable serve has been the foundation of Medvedev's success. It's something he has leaned on during this tournament, hitting 88 aces, per the competition's official website.
Breaking the Russian's serve will require all of Nadal's guile. He wasn't always at his best during Friday's win over Matteo Berrettini in the last four, barely surviving a tiebreak to win the first set.
But Nadal held his nerve and manufactured enough winning shots to book his place in the final. The Spaniard's forehand remains a weapon not many players have an answer for, while he's making few errors on his own serve, with Berrettini failing to claim a single break point.
If Nadal can keep his cool amid a likely early onslaught from Medvedev, he will make the telling shots to settle this final.