2013 US Open: Men’s Championship Prediction Djokovic vs. Nadal

2013 US Open Men’s Championship

1 Novak Djokovic vs. 2 Rafael Nadal

The top two seeds meet in the final of the US Open just as happened in the 2013 Wimbledon championship match.  Novak Djokovic has won 24 matches in Grand Slam play in 2013, and Rafa has won 13.  Yet, they each have 1 major title.  The winner gets two even if Nole ends up with 10 more match wins in slams than Rafa.

2010 and 2011

Fortunately, we have some recent US Open finals to draw upon for figuring this one out in 2013.  In 2010, Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in a pretty tough 4 set match.  Nole is playing better today than he did in 2010.  That bodes well for Djokovic.

In 2011, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in 4 brutal sets to win the US Open.  Nadal is playing better than he was in 2011.  That bodes well for Nadal.

Well that Did Not Help Much

Each man can feel good about playing better than he did when he lost in this match-up.  Rafa’s form is undeniably strong right now.  In general, I favor Nole in hard court matches with Nadal.  I think each player knows what he needs to do to maximize his chances at victory.  Nole must pressure Rafa’s serve and work over Rafa’s court positioning.  Rafa must be forward minded on the court and test Novak’s mental toughness (the tiebreak in Montreal was not Nole’s best moment).

I keep changing my mind about who will win this match.  Part of me thinks Rafa has played so well on hard courts that (a la Agassi in the summer of 1995) he is due for a small letdown.  On the other hand, Nadal’s form and mental outlook seem unbeatable at the moment.  Feeling invulnerable is a nice advantage to have.

If Nole wins this title, I think it will be because of the moment of joy he experienced during the 21 minute game versus Stan Wawrinka in the semifinal round.  After bitter near misses at Wimbledon and the French Open, Novak has seemed a little off to me this Summer.  The happy warrior seemed more like a brooding champion.  If that one moment, let Novak get back to whatever love he felt for tennis as a kid, it might let him relax enough to play the tennis we saw from him in 2011.

My prediction: I have changed my mind at least 3 times just while writing this review.  This could be an instant classic.  I am taking Rafael Nadal to win his second US Open title because he seems to be in the sort of form Djokovic had in 2011.  Supreme confidence is hard to beat.  I think Rafa is not only playing better than he did in 2011 but also than he did in 2010. Novak on the other hand is playing better than he did in 2010, but he is not as self-assured as he was in 2011.  Novak will have to rattle Rafa.  I see Nadal winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.    (Ask me again in the morning and I’ll likely give a different answer)

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. jane says:

    😦 you’re probably right…

    1. Dan Martin says:

      I have no idea. Rafa looked a little less focused vs. Gasquet than in the 1st 5 rounds. Who plays better in the wind?

      1. utkarsh says:

        probabbly nadal with more margin of error……. i don’t want as in last year……. i also believe nadal is not playing as well as in 2010

      2. Dan Martin says:

        He was serving bigger in 2010 for sure

    2. Rod Federer says:

      Not to worry. Dan picked Azarenka in 3 too. Let us hope he gets this wrong too [sorry Dan, no offense]. I am going Nole in 4.

      1. Dan Martin says:

        I had pretty accurate picks in the quarters and semis but otherwise they’ve been awful at the Open. I may have assured Rafa’s defeat with my pick.

  2. Reblogged this on Chaos Equals Cosmos and commented:
    Nole in 4 is my pick. I will have my preview up shortly!

  3. Ben says:

    The pick is not surprising, but the scoreline seems uncanny for these two.

    1. Dan Martin says:

      I keep going back and forth on the winner. I’d prefer to see Novak win as he has 24 slam match wins for the year and Rafa has 13. Federer won 24 matches in Grand Slam play in 2004 and won 3 majors. To win 24 matches and only get one major seems unkind from the sport.

      1. Ben says:

        Yep. There should be no illusion that as great as Nadal’s year has been, it’s not even close to being one of the better years we’ve seen. 2008 and 2010 were much better.

      2. jane says:

        i think it’s been hyped a lot because it’s a comeback…but yeah people haven’t mentioned much that for all intents and purposes this feels like only the 2nd slam rafa has played.

  4. Rod Federer says:

    “To win 24 matches and only get one major seems unkind from the sport.”

    Isn’t that the story of Novak’s life, though? Truth be told, he has only himself to blame. FO semi-final was a match he had in the bag.

    Wimbledon final, don’t even get me started. I know lot of people want to sugar-coat things but Djokovic choked the final from point 1. He was absolutely intimidated by the crowd/British support. He should have just seen videos of Federer Vs Murray from 2012 Wimbledon or the other 2 times Federer handled Andy and the British crowd in London O2. He should have also seen Rafa handling Murray in Wimbledon and O2 [that epic semi-final in 2010].

    I would say Novak’s “misfortune” is due to him not handling the pressure of the specators rooting against him. [Madrid 2013 against Dimitrov is another example].

    later….

    1. jane says:

      nole does get distracted sometimes, it’s true. i’d say it’s especially true of the f.o. semi. with wimbledon, to be fair, i do think fed had a little more support from the crowd than nole did. but i am not sure that’s the only reason nole lost there. i do think he must have been feeling some fatigue – he’d just beaten the number 13, number 6 and number 8 seeds in a row (haas, berdych and del potro), including playing the longest semifinal in wimbledon history!! i am guessing that was somewhat of a factor.

  5. Rod Federer says:

    Jane: I agree fatigue is a factor, but Nole did not lose like Roger did in the Olympics final. That was clearly fatigue. Nole kept the match close and whenever he had to take initiative, he kept hesitating – a classic sign of pressure/choke. All said, Murray was too good for him that day.

    Coming back to the US Open

    Here is my preview guys:

    http://chaosequalscosmos.wordpress.com/

  6. I always pick against Rafa in this match-up like Jane, I often deal with these tense matches by lower my expectations and hopes a bit. It really could go either way. But if I can’t pick Rafa now, after what he’s done, when can I. My gut says Novak will win, but I will go ahead and say on the record Nadal in 5.

  7. Dan you weren’t far off on your numbers. I am delighted. Felt sorry for Novak , I only watched set 4, that’s probably why. I was training and then out showing property. But following livescores, getting texts from my husband and peeking on tennis x it seemed in the middle of set 3 that Nole would run away with the match. From what is saw in set 4 Djokovic making a ton of errors and not overall great quality match.

    1. Dan Martin says:

      1st set and 4th set were pretty one-sided error filled fare from Novak, but that is the thing about Rafa even when he is not playing well by his standards he makes his opponent work. Rafa won a few games he should not have and then Nole just lost his confidence, temper, focus … Rafa is a grinder, and he wore Nole out mentally.

  8. jane says:

    you said it dan, and you predicted it too.

    gutted for nole. don’t think i have seen him so down in a press conference for a long time. he looked close to tears throughout.

    congrats kimberly. enjoy rafa’s comeback. it’s out of this world.
    he’s come back and won almost everything he’s played.

    1. Dan Martin says:

      I think had Nole gotten the double break in the 3rd (would have been 4 straight breaks) or won the game at 4-4 that he likely wins the match. Beating Nadal right now is like drowning the ocean. I think once those chances slipped despair set in during the 4th set. Also, his 1st set play put him in the hole and playing from behind.

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