By Ros Satar
- Rafael Nadal  v Kevin Anderson 
- H2H: Nadal leads 4-0
- Nadal is looking for his third US Open title, while Anderson looks for a maiden Slam
NEW YORK, USA – The curtain closes on the last Slam of the year, as World No. 1 Rafael Nadal looks to cap an outstanding year with a second Slam title in 2017, his 16th overall and a third in New York with Kevin Anderson making his Slam final debut.
Experience is all
While Kevin Anderson has endeared himself to many over his career with his quiet and affable demeanour and a big game on court, considering that they have known each other since the juniors, it is surprising they have only met each other four times in the past.
Rafael Nadal has been at the top of the game for so long, while Anderson has been consistent before his latest round of injuries, and when it comes to performing on the big stages, on the biggest of occasions, Nadal should sail through this comfortably.
Yes, he *should* sail through this final, but he has had a bit of slow progress throughout the tournament. He looked to struggle in his first match before righting the ship for a comfortable win, but has dropped the first set three times on his away to the final.
The nerves are there for Anderson to take advantage off if he comes out of the blocks fast, but Nadal has a habit of grinding his opponents down – he may be made to pay.
Return game is key
Once the Spaniard dominates the point, he will make you run and run forever, as he dictates from the back of the court. The key will be to get on the end of the Anderson services games and make the big guy run. Anderson will look to play far more first strike tennis, and Nadal has shown this tournament that he can figure out his game on the fly.
Nadal’s speed and court coverage
The benefit of his own time off from the court has meant that he has come back not only with renewed confidence, but his fitness has never looked better. His movement is key against Anderson, and even though Anderson’s movement has improved, Nadal should still run rings about the rangy South African.
About that time off
Neither man is a spring chicken anymore, and Anderson spent the early part of the year himself recovering from injury. But both have enjoyed good longevity in the game, and Nadal has proved time and again this year that his time out in 2016 was the best thing. Three Slam finals in one year, La Decima, the icing on the cake will be a third US Open.
The US Open 2017 Men’s Final takes place at 4pm (9pm BST).
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