Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rafa Marches On....


World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is in the Quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.

Rafa proved to be too much for fellow countryman, No. 23 Feliciano Lopez, and easily ousted his good buddy (6-3, 6-4, 6-4) in the Fourth Round.

It's no secret that Rafa desperately wants to win the U.S. Open, for its the only Grand Slam title that has eluded him. Rafa has won 5 French Opens, 2 Wimbledons and 1 Australian Open title, but the U.S. Open has been a road block for him.

Experts say that the hard courts at the U.S. Open are a problem for him because of his punishing style of play and by the time the U.S. Open comes around, Rafa is usually worn out.

All this may be true, but I think we shouldn't underestimate his will to win. At 24, Rafa has age and energy on his side, which just may be enough for him to win the title and complete his career Grand Slam.

I guess we can say Rafa is, more or less, in the same boat as No. 2 Roger Federer, who won every tournament in the universe but couldn't win the French Open on clay.



And of course that was in large part due to Nadal (probably the best clay court player ever) who beat Federer in the French finals three consecutive years (2006-2008). In 2009, Nadal had an off year due to injuries, and Federer was able to sneak in and win the French and complete his career Grand Slam.

But Nadal may have to earn his U.S. Open title the hard way because Federer himself has easily advanced to the Quarterfinals. So far, Federer is yet to lose a set and now has a date with No. 5 Robin Soderling, who ousted Federer out of the French Open earlier this year, depriving him of the opportunity to defend his 2009 title.

But this is a different venue and a different Federer, so Soderling will have to play the game of his life because Federer will no doubt be on a mission to settle the score.

So--

Will we see a Nadal vs. Federer Final?

We sure hope so!

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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