Rafael Nadal vs. Juan Martin del Potro Preview
Where: USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, New York City, NY
When: Friday, September 8, 2017
TV Broadcast: ESPN
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Betting on Rafael Nadal (-260)
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal has got to be sighing with relief for two huge reasons. The first reason being that he just advanced from his US Open quarterfinal match almost unscathed with a dominant 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Russia’s Andrey Rublev. Second, and more importantly, is that he escaped having to go up with long-time rival, Roger Federer, in the semifinal round of the tournament.
Federer was supposed to be the biggest hurdle along Nadal’s path to victory in Flushing Meadows, but that’s no longer the case with Juan Martin del Potro completing the upset over the Swiss legend on Tuesday night. Although Nadal may have been preparing for Federer instead of del Potro, the World No. 1 still has the edge over the streaky Argentinian, having a lifetime record of 8-5 in their head-to-head matchups.
However, Nadal may be in for a surprise like Federer if he’s to underestimate del Potro. It’s worth noting that the decorated Spaniard has yet to be truly challenged, with all five of his past opponents in the tournament nowhere near the top 50 of the ATP Tour’s rankings.
But in the end, perhaps Nadal’s big-game experience in the Big Apple will still win out. He has two US Open victories and one other final round appearance under his belt already, boasting a lifetime record of 46-10 in the stateside Grand Slam (82.1 percent winning percentage).
Betting on Juan Martin del Potro (+200)
Unlike Nadal, who made quick work of his last two US Open opponents in three sets apiece, Juan Martin del Potro relishes the stiff competition that the tournament has offered. Following a five-set thriller in the fourth round against World No. 9 Dominic Thiem, the Argentianian standout delivered another monumental upset; this time with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 triumph over the second-best player in the world, Roger Federer.
For those who aren’t keeping count, that’s now back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents for del Potro, who’s looking to relive his magical run in New York back in 2009 wherein he won his first and only Grand Slam event. And as fate would have it, Federer was once again the victim of the six-foot-six upstart’s run to the US Open title.
One may believe that del Potro only has Federer’s number in terms of elite competition. However, the 28-year-old native of Tandil has actually fared rather well against his next opponent in Nadal as well, particularly on the hard courts. All five of del Potro’s victories over Nadal were held on the artificial turf, most recently from last year’s semifinal round at the Summer Olympics.
In fact, del Potro has won all two of his latest encounters with Nadal; both on the surface that has been the kindest to him throughout his 12-year professional career. If you’re in search of a proven giant-slayer at the US Open, you’re looking at him.
Del Potro (+200) keeps his bid for a second-career US Open title alive with a grueling five-set victory over Nadal.
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