Daniil Medvedev will play his first Grand Slam final when he faces Rafael Nadal in the US Open final on Sunday.
The current season has been a breakout season for Medvedev. The 23-year-old achieved his highest ranking of 5th this year. To the surprise of many, he has won the highest number of games on tour this year. Rafael Nadal is the man he overtook to claim that honor. Over the last month or so Medvedev has played tournament after tournament. After reaching the final in Montreal and Washington, he claimed his second title of the season at the Cincinnati Open. The first came at the Sofia Open in February.
His path to the final has not been straightforward by any means. He dropped a set in each four of his first five matches. Medvedev’s third-round match against Feliciano Lopez is the day he made the biggest headline. He threw his racket in that game and showed his middle finger to the crowd. The gesture did not go well for obvious reasons, and the crowd did not hesitate in showing their displeasure. Medvedev taunted the crowd sarcastically in his post-match interview.Embed from Getty Images
He has apologized to them since then, but there is still friction between him and the crowd. Medvedev played some great tennis to dispatch Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-final. He then followed it up by beating Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-final. Medvedev was at his clinical best against the Bulgarian and claimed a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 win.
The Russian will play his first major final against someone who has played in a bit more than one. Rafael Nadal will make his 27th Grand Slam final appearance when he takes to the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday. He has dropped just one set on his way to the final. Marin Cilic took that set off him in the round of 16, but that was nothing more than a minor hiccup.Embed from Getty Images
The Spaniard has faced a relatively kind path to the final as the likes of Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev perished in the early stages. He faced unseeded players in his first three games before coming up against Cilic in the round of 16. Since then he has defeated Diego Schwartzman and Mateo Berrettini to reach the final in New York.
Nadal has won three US Open titles in his career, the last of which came in 2017. He is on 18 Grand Slam singles title at the moment, and victory against Medvedev will take up just one behind Roger Federer in first. Nadal and Medvedev have met just once in their careers. That meeting was in Montreal this year when the Spaniard won the final to clinch the title.
Daniil Medvedev vs Rafael Nadal Prediction
A similar result should be in store on Sunday as Nadal will be the favorite to get the win. Medvedev will make it tough, and he should take a set off the second seed. But Nadal’s experience and quality should enable him to clinch his second Grand Slam title of the year.