Rafael Nadal seeks to move one step closer to defending his US Open title on Wednesday night when he takes on Vasek Pospisil on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The top half of the draw is well set up for Nadal to take his spot in the final with Juan Martin Del Potro and Kevin Anderson the likely strongest opponents he can face on his way there.
Pospisil has made four Challenger Tour finals in a year that has seen him move float around the bottom part of the top 100, coming into this event at No. 88 in the world. The Canadian has played 15 main tour matches this year but has just five wins including his straight sets win over Lukas Lacko in the opening round of the tournament. He broke the Slovakian seven times overall, securing his spot in the second round of the US Open for the third time in his career.
Nadal’s opener was cut short when David Ferrer was forced to retire while up a break but down one set. Nadal was full of sympathy for his fellow countryman and good friend, who may well have played his last match at a slam. “I’m very very sorry for him, he is one of my closest friends on tour and we have shared amazing moments together, playing in French Open finals and playing together in the Davis Cup and Davis Cup finals.” he said afterwards.
Nadal and Pospisil have met just once with the Spaniard coming out on top in straight sets back at Beijing in 2015. It should be more of the same for Nadal who will be looking forward to a likely clash with Karen Khachanov in the next round.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets