John Millman will hope to pull off US Open heroics for the second year running when he takes on Rafael Nadal for a spot in the second round on Tuesday. The Australian made the quarter finals last year with his shock win over Roger Federer being one of the results of the tournament.
That run catapulted Millman to a career high 34 but he hasn’t managed to build on that result suggesting there is something of a ceiling on his performances here. Millman is an incredibly hard worker but his counterpunching style has not produced many strong runs for him this year. His quarter final in Winston Salem last week was one of three quarter finals he has made this season, following Sydney and Acapulco.
Nadal comes into the tournament on the back of a title in Canada, capped by an extremely impressive demolition of Daniil Medvedev in the final. The Russian bounced back to win in Cincinnati, beating Djokovic along the way, so to win for the loss of just three games is very impressive indeed. “Of course, arriving to the big events with good feelings helps,” said Nadal. “My last events have been win Rome, win in Roland Garros, semi-finals in Wimbledon, and winning Montreal. That’s a positive feeling, positive memory on my mind. That helps for the confidence.”
“My feeling on the knees are better this year than last year, last year the problem was I played three or four very, very long matches. That’s tough. I hope to be ready for it. I think I am playing well. I am practising the right way during these days. Of course, winning in Montreal helps. I am ready for the action.” Nadal said on his fitness coming into the tournament. He made the semi finals last year but ended up retiring while down two sets to Juan Martin Del Potro. The Spaniard isn’t the favourite but he will always be a contender while his body is as close to 100% as possible. This one should be a nice start for him in a draw that sees him avoid both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic until the final.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets