U.S. Open 2010: With Andy Murray Out, Way To Crown Is Wide Open for Rafael Nadal

AndersCorrespondent IIISeptember 6, 2010

Blasting another forehand
Blasting another forehandNick Laham/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal looks prone to get to his first US Open final. When the draw got out, the general opinion was that Rafael Nadal had the easiest path to the semi's - that is, of the top dogs. 

With the two most, nay, let's say three most dangerous guys of his half out of the tournament, the road to the final is as open as it will ever get. I'm speaking of Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and David Nalbaldian, if anyone were in doubt.

Sure, there are no completely easy matches at this stage in a Grand Slam tournament. But Rafael Nadal has got to favour his chances quite a lot against fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, whom he holds a 5-2 H2H against, his loses being this year in Queens and in 2003 on carpet. 

Lopez is by no means a bad player, but he needed 5 tight sets against Benoit Paire in the second round and really should not be able to trouble Nadal. 

Next up, David Ferrer or Fernando Verdasco. Both good players, but again - if Rafa means business, these guys are not the ones who can knock him off his ground. 

So, he's ready for the semis, where he will meet Murray? Nope. Mikhail Youzhny or Stanislas Wawrinka seem to me to be the one that Rafa will have to face.

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Good players? Indeed. Good enough to beat Rafa in the US Open semi, the one Grand Slam tournament that is still lacking in his resume? I highly doubt it. 

So we have Nadal in the final - wellrested and with a stronger serve than we've ever seen before. Now, who is he to meet there? My best guess is Roger Federer, but he has a far harder road ahead of him with Söderling awaiting in the quarters and probably a resurgent Novak Djokovic in the semis - that is if he gets pass Jurgen Melzer tonight. 

Point of it all? Rafael Nadal is by far in the best position to take the coveted crown that he needs to complete his Calendar Slam. It is probably the best chance, he will ever get. If Federer gets there to meet him, if will be the first GS final between these two since the 2009 Aussie Open, where Nadal stunned the world and proved he could beat a well-playing Federer in a GS hard-court final. 

In a weak, he hopefully will have the chance to prove that again in the Fedal final I would love to see.

And who is the favourite, if they both make it there? I guess you can make an argument for both. Federer given his track record here at the Open. Nadal given his track record against Federer, including their last three GS finals meetings.

That's gotta be a source for confidence for Nadal and a statistic Federer would love to change.