Since squeezing through their latest gruelling Grand Slam contest in the French Open semis in five sets, Rafael Nadal has turned the tide in this titanic tussle with Novak Djokovic.
Whoever wins this US Open title can claim 2013 as ‘their year’ having already accounted for the Australian Open and the French between them, though it’s Rafa who is rightly favourite to claim this unofficial honour.
The Spaniard is 8/13 to beat the Serb, who is 5/4 with Ladbrokes, as the world’s top two ranked players prepare to clash for the 37th time in their glittering careers.
The current count stands at 21-15 in favour of Nadal, but where the pendulum of power has swung back and forth between the game’s most ferocious athletes in the past, the ‘King Of Clay’ has been busy making up for lost time in 2013.
Since returning to the tour after a seven-month injury lay-off in February, Rafa has raised his game to a nearly unbeatable level, losing just three contests.
He not only beat Djokovic on his way to a record eighth French Open crown, he’s won all three hard court tournaments he’s entered, which included another victory over the Serb in the final at Montreal, making it 22 straight victories on this surface.
To discount his opponent, would of course be foolish. Novak is still the world number one and has more than enough weapons in his locker to threaten Nadal, while his tenacity alone is usually worth at least one set.
It’s just that Nadal is in the form of his life, dropping just a single set to this point at Flushing Meadows, whereas Djokovic has been a little patchy, losing to John Isner in Cincinnati and being second best for much of his draining five-set semi final against Stanislas Wawrinka here.
Nadal, meanwhile, has been drilling opponents with his topspin forehand, smashing 113 winners with his favoured stroke alone and being broken just once in his six previous matches, making the 8/13 on the Spaniard to break first another good-looking punt.
None of the last six Grand Slam encounters between these two have produced a straight sets win, with the last two US Open finals in 2010 and 2011 providing a winner in four sets, and it’s in-form Nadal’s turn in four this time at 11/4.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim three £10 free bets when you bet £10