16th Grand Slam Win Looms For Nadal

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Rafa Nadal – the French Open winner – will contest his third slam final of the year against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, and the 23rd of his illustrious career.

The Spaniard won nine games in a row at one stage on his way to a 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2 victory in the second semi-final.

Nadal, 31, will try for a third US Open and 16th Grand Slam title on Sunday, against a surprise opponent.

South Africa’s Anderson, 31, beat Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 earlier on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

At 32 in the world, Anderson is the lowest-ranked man to reach a US Open singles final since the ranking system was introduced in 1973.

He faces a huge challenge against Nadal, who has a 4-0 record in their head-to-head and grew stronger as the match wore on against a tired Del Potro.

But there are more important things to the 15-time major champion, given the 31-year-old’s run of injuries in recent years.

“For me what is more important, more than win slams is be happy. I am happy if I am healthy and happy, if I feel competitive in the most of the weeks that I am playing, and that’s what happened this year,” Nadal, who has two US Open crowns to his name, said.

“So I am very happy about what happened, very happy to win Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Roland Garros. I am very happy to be in the final here in the US Open.

The last time Nadal lost a Grand Slam semi-final was against Del Potro on the same court eight years ago, and he was not about to endure a repeat performance.

After losing a tight first set, the Spaniard hit a rich vein of form, dropping just five more games, dominating on serve and ending the match with 25 forehand winners.

“I changed a couple of things after the first set,” added Nadal.

“I was playing too much to his backhand and I knew that I had to change and move him more and be more unpredictable. It worked really well and I am very happy.”

Del Potro, roared on by the Argentine fans who have given him loud support throughout this US Open, gathered himself to win a tight first set, before running out of steam.

The 24th seed coped superbly in the early stages as Nadal pummelled his weaker backhand wing, winning the cross-court battle and, thanks to a net cord on break point, with it the set.

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