"And he plays so well on this surface", Nadal said of Anderson.
Nadal took out the opening stanza 6-3 after back-to-back breaks.
Rafael Nadal: Rafael Nadal has been in stupendous form all through the tournament.
Rafael Nadal, 15-time major victor and US Open champion in 2010 and 2013, is looking to add to the French Open title he won earlier this year. "I'm happy to have another shot". It is his third Grand Slam final appearance of the season.
Now Anderson is set to become the first South African to contest a US Open final for 52 years and, at 32 in the world, the lowest ranked player to make the final in the Big Apple since the introduction of the computer ranking system in 1973. "So this year, since the beginning, has been a very emotional year". He figures to be a handful for Anderson, who isn't exactly fleet of foot.
Win or lose, he's already made history.
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In Women's Singles last night, unseeded American Sloane Stephens lifted her first Grand Slam title after she defeated compatriot Madison Keys, seeded 15th, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0.
He celebrated accordingly on Friday. My model, which doesn't have an adjustment to factor in the probability of first time in Slam final nerves for Anderson, made this a little short, but not unduly so. After overcoming Carreno Busta in four sets to advance past the semifinals, Anderson scaled his way to his guest box in the stands.
For one, he's 4-0 in previous matches against his challenger from Johannesburg. If he does emerge victorious, it will be in tune with the age of renaissance in tennis - Nadal and Roger Federer will have, between them, won all four Slams in 2017.
In the bigger picture, the gap between Nadal and Anderson is nothing if not astounding. A victory over Anderson on Sunday will see him win his third US Open title.
Which is to say, expect Rafa to reign supreme once again in New York City, for the first time since 2013.