Opinion: With Federer and Djokovic out of the way, the US Open is Nadal's to lose
When Roger Federer failed to break Grigor Dimitrov at 5-6, 0-40 to surrender the fourth set, long-time Federer fans only knew too well that the maestro had all but missed a shot at an elusive sixth US Open title. The US Open has been the stage for many of his (and his legion of fans’) heart-breaking losses.
With Djokovic already out of the way thanks to an untimely shoulder injury, it is now all but certain that Rafael Nadal will win his fourth US Open and nineteenth Grand Slam title overall, taking him one shy of Roger’s record. No disrespect to the diminutive Argentinian, Diego Schwartzman, but it is improbable in ordinary circumstances to imagine him getting the better of Nadal.
Among the players left in the draw, he has a dominant record against all of them, except Matteo Berrettini, whom he has never met on the ATP tour. He may face the young Italian in the semi-final, if the latter manages to beat Monfils. The Frenchman, who is on a comeback trail, has beaten Nadal twice, but has lost fourteen times, with his last win against Nadal coming way back in 2012 in Doha!
He will meet either Dimitrov or Medvedev in the final. He has a 12-1 head to head record against the Bulgarian and in his only meeting against the Russian, he outplayed and outclassed Medvedev at the Canada Masters final. A repeat of the same brutal performance cannot be ruled out in New York!
But more than the statistics, it is the mindset that matters. When presented an opportunity such as the one he has now with the exit of the other two members of the big three, Nadal knows it’s his tournament to lose from now on. It will be nothing short of a miracle if Nadal is not the one who lifts the 2019 US Open men’s singles title!