After two routine wins to begin his US Open challenge, Rafael Nadal will face a slightly tougher test in round three. His opponent will be Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov in Friday’s night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Kuznetsov could move closer to a career high ranking with an historic victory but should remain top 50 regardless of what happens. Check out the previous h2h matches played between the two.
Nadal was in blistering form on Wednesday, breaking the serve of his opponent Andreas Seppi eight times in a 6-0 7-5 6-1 win. He appears to be looking in good shape early on having had comfortable victories in the first two rounds. Nadal is not underestimating his opponent, praising Kuznetsov’s game. “Next round is very tough opponent. I know him well. I played him this year I think at the beginning of the season in Doha. He’s aggressive player. He has lots of big shots from the baseline and he’s very dangerous.” said Nadal.
In the aforementioned Doha match, Kuznetsov gave Nadal lots of trouble, winning a tight second set before falling in three sets. They also played in Madrid this year with Nadal winning in straights but the Doha match is the only one of the three played on hard courts.
Kuznetsov did take out a Spanish seed in round two, beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets to match his best US Open run of the third round in 2014. His run did end at the hands of Andy Murray then and it seems likely that he will see the same fate against another of the modern game’s greats. Nadal will be buoyed by the exit of Milos Raonic, the highest ranked seed in his section. It will in theory mean his route to the semi finals will be easier than expected.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets