Photo: Rafael Nadal
Spain’s Rafael Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in the dream match-up that tennis fans were hoping for, taking on the Serbian world No. 1 for the U.S. Open title on Monday.
“It was very tough conditions out there today. Wind, it was very strong. Very difficult to play. I think I played (a) solid first set. That’s very important, win the first in these kind of matches,” Nadal said after his 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 win Saturday over France’s Richard Gasquet.
The 27-year-old Nadal, who won the U.S. Open in 2010, will be going up against Djokovic for the 37th time.
Nadal has won 21 of his meetings with the Serbian, who advanced to the final with a tough 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka.
“I need to keep playing very aggressive and play a very, very good match,” Nadal said in response to a question from reporters about what he had to do to beat Djokovic.
Djokovic, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, said the long match would not be a problem physically and he was ready for the final.
“It’s always the biggest challenge that you can have in our sport now. I mean, he’s the ultimate competitor out there. He’s fighting for every ball and he’s playing probably the best tennis that he ever played on hard courts. He hasn’t lost a match on hard court this year,” the world No. 1 said in response to a question about his thoughts on playing Nadal in the final.
In other action at the U.S. Open on Saturday, the Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, seeded No. 5, beat Australia’s Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, the No. 8 seeds, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-4 to win the U.S. Open women’s doubles title.