Djokovic to Edge Nadal for U.S. Open Crown

by John on September 12, 2011

If Yogi Berra were picking the winner in this afternoon’s clash for the U.S. Open championship between Novak Djokovic and defending champion Rafael Nadal, I’m pretty sure what he would say. “It’s deja vu all over again.” Translation: Djokovic, the winner. After all the No. 1-ranked Serb has defeated No. 2 Nadal five straight times, all five in finals. Djokovic has an other-worldly 63-2 record on the year and has won nine tournaments. Pretty heady stuff for the 24-year-old Serb. But for a bold, flat-out laser return of a Roger Federer serve, down two match points at 15-40 and 3-5 in the fifth set of their Saturday semifinal, Djokovic would be back in Serbia preparing for his country’s Davis Cup tie with Argentina this weekend. “I had to take my chances,” Nole explained. “I was very close to being on my way back home.” Djokovic called the epic win over Federer “the greatest victory I had in 2011.” That’s saying something, considering he has two majors and four Masters Series championships among his nine titles this year. “It’s obvious that this is the best year of my career, by far,” Djokovic said. “The confidence level that is very high at this moment for me helps me to get into this big matches and go for the shots that I maybe in some situations wouldn’t, that I wasn’t going for those shots in the past couple years. But it’s all I think a process of learning and getting experience and maturing as a player, as a person.” Despite all of Djokovic’s success this year, today’s match is still pivotal for the balance of power in men’s tennis. If Nadal wins, he, too, will have two majors under his belt in 2011. Finish the rest of the year strong, win the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals and the Spaniard could reclaim the No. 1 ranking. The Serb knows this, and that’s one of the reasons he’s going to win today. That and the fact that Djokovic has gotten into Nadal’s head. “This year I go into the match having lost the past five matches against him, five finals, so this will be the sixth,” Nadal said. “It’s an advantage for him. He’s obviously the favorite for the final. I know I have to do something better than the other matches to try to change the situation, and that’s what I’m going to try.” Try he will, but I’m going with the Djokster in four. It won’t be easy, though. It never is against Nadal.




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