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PHOTOS: Medvedev, Nadal to clash in US Open final

Last updated on: September 07, 2019 09:22 IST

Rafael Nadal on the brink of a 19th career Grand Slam title.

Daniil Medvedev first Russian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates victory over Italy's Matteo Berrettini in the  semi-finals of the US Open on Friday

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates victory over Italy's Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals of the US Open on Friday. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Russia's Daniil Medvedev and Spain's Rafael Nadal will meet in the final of the US Open. Both advanced to the title round with comfortable victories in their semi-final matches on Friday.

Medvedev will play for a first Grand Slam title after scoring a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3 victory over Grigor Dimitrov, while three-time champion Nadal got the better of surprise package Matteo Berrettini 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-1 in the second semi-final.

The victory put Nadal on the brink of a 19th career Grand Slam title.

If the Spaniard wins the final he will be just one shy of Roger Federer’s record of 20 men’s Grand Slam titles.

Matteo Barrettini

IMAGE: Matteo Berrettini returns to Rafael Nadal. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Nadal put pressure on the underdog Italian’s serve from the start but Berrettini saved six break-points to set up a first set tie-breaker. 

Berrettini raced out to a 4-0 lead thanks to some uncharacteristically sloppy play from the Spaniard and the 23-year-old had two set points at 4-6.

But Berrettini suddenly got tight and Nadal took advantage, wearing him down in the extended baseline rallies and capturing the set when the Italian sent a forehand long for his 20th unforced error, leading Nadal to let out a roar.

Nadal broke Berrettini on his 10th opportunity to take a 4-3 lead in the second set and cruised to the finish, absorbing Berrettini’s powerful forehands and redirecting them to his weaker backhand side to see off the first time Slam semi-finalist.

Nadal and big-serving Russian Medvedev's previous meeting took place in the final of last month’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, where Nadal was a 6-3, 6-0 winner.

Daniil Medvedev celebrates victory over Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the US Open semi-finals at at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Friday.

IMAGE: Russia’s Daniil Medvedev celebrates victory over Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the US Open semi-finals on Friday. Photograph: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Medvedev and Dmitrov arrived at Flushing Meadows in wildly contrasting form.

Medvedev has had a complicated relationship with the Flushing Meadows crowds, who cast him as a US Open bad boy following some on-court antics, but the fifth seeded Russian has been as good as gold where it matters -- on the scoreboard.

The win sent Medvedev, the first Russian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open, through to his fourth straight final and stretches his win streak to 12 matches.

Grigor Dimitrov hits a forehand against Daniil Medvedev.

IMAGE: Grigor Dimitrov hits a forehand against Daniil Medvedev. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The 78th ranked Dimitrov's play was trending downwards, winning just one of his last eight matches, while Medvedev was riding the momentum from reaching three straight finals, including a win in his last US Open tune-up in Cincinnati.

With both men fighting for a spot in their first Grand Slam final, every point was contested as if a trophy were riding on it, particularly in a tense opening set that stretched to an hour before Medvedev snatched it in a tie-break.

The second set produced more long, grinding rallies as the Russian and Bulgarian traded a pair of breaks before Medvedev landed the decisive blow to break Dimitrov and go 2-1 up.

Now in command, Medvedev continued to relentlessly wear down the tiring Dimitrov in a third set that saw him earn a break at 3-1 to take a lead he would not surrender.

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