Rafael Nadal has moved closer to winning his fourth US Open championship and 19th Grand Slam title overall by recording a 7-6(6) 6-4 6-1 semifinal victory over 24th-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini.
Nadal will face world No.5 Daniil Medvedev of Russia on Sunday in what will be the second seed’s 27th Grand Slam final.
The pair’s only previous meeting took place in the final of last month’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, where Nadal was a 6-3 6-0 winner.
If the 33-year-old Spaniard wins he will pull to within one of Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles trophies.
Medvedev reached his first Grand Slam decider earlier on Friday night in New York by beating Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(5) 6-4 6-3.
Back where he belongs…
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2019
The fifth-seeded Russian had never been past the fourth round at a major tournament until this one at Flushing Meadows, which will be his fourth final in the past four events he’s entered.
The 23-year-old showed no real signs of fatigue as he dispatched 78th-ranked Dimitrov in two hours 39 minutes to become the first Russian in the New York final since Marat Safin lifted the trophy in 2000.
The 6-foot-6 Medvedev has been on fire on the post-Wimbledon, reaching the finals in Washington and Montreal before lifting his second trophy of the year in the final tune-up event, the Cincinnati Masters, beating world No.1 Novak Djokovic en route.
“When I went to the USA I didn’t think it would be that good. I must say I love USA,” Medvedev said amid big cheers which stood in sharp contrast to boos from the fans in earlier rounds against him.
“Finally I’m standing here before playing a final on Sunday and I’m just really happy.”
On facing Medvedev, Nadal said: “He’s making steps forward every single week. He’s having an amazing summer, winning Cincinnati and making the final in Montreal and Washington and now the final here.
“He’s been playing the best tennis on tour this summer so he will be the toughest opponent in the final. I need to be playing at my best. But in a Grand Slam final you can’t expect an easy opponent.
“For me it means a lot to be back where I am today after some tough moments at the beginning of the season.”
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