Rafael Nadal is one match away from Grand Slam title No. 19 after defeating Italian Matteo Berrettini 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 in Friday night’s 2019 U.S. Open semifinal in Flushing, N.Y.
The first set, which went to a tiebreak and lasted an hour and 14 minutes, proved too much for the 23-year-old Berrettini, as Nadal made quick work of him in the next two sets.
Stark contrast in both men’s and women’s matchups
Nadal, 33, will face 23-year-old Daniil Medvedev Sunday night. Much like on the women’s side, where 37-year-old Serena Williams will take on 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu in the final, the matchup presents a study in contrasts.
Medvedev, whose No. 5 world rank is the highest of his career, will be playing in his first-ever major final, while second-ranked Nadal will be in his 27th. The Spanish superstar enters the match just two behind Roger Federer (20) in all-time Grand Slam titles.
Additionally, the Russian Medvedev made headlines earlier in the tournament for trolling the crowd in his post-match interview, a stark divergence from Nadal’s cordial ways. Fans in attendance took notice after Medvedev somewhat aggressively grabbed a towel from a ballperson, and thus booed him for the duration of his win.
Afterwards, he credited the outcome to that reaction:
“First of all I can say thank you all, guys, because your energy tonight gave me the win," Medvedev said. "Because if you were not here, guys, I would probably lose the match, because I was so tired. I was cramping yesterday — it was so tough for me to play. So I want all of you to know when you sleep tonight: I won because of you."
High-emotion play has often been a signature of Medvedev’s game – he meets multiple times per week with a sports psychologist to learn to rein himself in – so look for sparks to fly Sunday.
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