Rafael Nadal drops first set but rallies to defeat Rinky Hijikata at US Open
The world’s top 10 players will compete on Centre Court in New York on Monday, while the remainder of the top 10 will play their second and final rubber in a battle of attrition.
If Novak Djokovic can complete the final set and win that match, he will reach the world No. 1 spot for the first time in more than a year, and will have earned the right to meet Serena Williams in the mixed-doubles final.
The same cannot be said for Rafael Nadal, whose only victory on the US Open’s biggest main court came in 1995. The Spaniard lost in the final last year to Andy Murray, and was knocked out in his third-round match by Kei Nishikori in a match that lasted three hours and 20 minutes. Yet this will be Nadal’s first real chance for a win on the US Open’s Centre Court.
This will be the longest final that Nadal will play in the majors, as he has failed to make the final in his last two attempts. His last victory in a US Open final was at the 1999 US Open, where he defeated Guillermo Vilas.
Nadal will face Rohan Bopanna for the first time in a US Open final. The Indian semifinalist won his only previous career victory, in the 2011 US Open, by upsetting Tommy Haas for the title.
Bopanna started out strong, breaking Nadal’s serve in the opening game and holding serve until the end of the first set, where he pulled away 4-0. Nadal was unable to break his opponent in the second set, and Bopanna broke back in the third. In the fourth game after a Bopanna backhand winner, Nadal raced to 4-0 lead as Bopanna took a backhand at the net as well, but it came back.
Nadal saved a break point in the fifth game with a deep serve. Bopanna broke back in the sixth game. His serve was broken in the seventh game. Nadal