U.S. Open QF preview and prediction: Nadal vs. Rublev

Rafael Nadal has not yet faced a seeded opponent at this U.S. Open and the trend will continue on Wednesday when he goes up against Andrey Rublev during quarterfinal action.

Unsurprisingly, this is the first head-to-head showdown between the two competitors. After all, Rublev is just 19 years old and had won only 12 career ATP-level matches prior to this season–including zero at majors. The Russian has already doubled his victory total in 2017 alone with 15, a number that includes his first title as a lucky loser in Umag. Rublev also laid the groundwork for this breakthrough Grand Slam by qualifying at both the French Open (pushed fellow U.S. Open quarterfinalist Diego Schwartzman to 9-7 in the fifth set) and Wimbledon (beat Stefano Travaglia in five before losing to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in five). The world No. 53 has advanced in New York by taking out Aljaz Bedene, Grigor Dimitrov, Damir Dzumhur, and David Goffin.

Even with a more difficult draw, Rublev has actually dropped fewer sets (one to Dzumhur) than Nadal. The top-seeded Spaniard beat Dusan Lajovic in straights, recovered from a set down against both Taro Daniel and Leonardo Mayer, and then raised his level considerably in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 rout of Alexandr Dolgopolov on Monday afternoon. Thus Nadal is through to his first U.S. Open quarterfinal since he captured a second title back in 2013.

“He’s the real champion,” Rublev said the world No. 1. “I’m just going to enjoy it. It’s the quarterfinals and I have nothing to lose”

Nadal disagreed.

“Of course he’s young, but at the same time he’s in quarterfinals. He has a chance to be in the semifinals for the first time [in] his career. So of course he has things to lose. And of course I have things to lose and things to win. Of course I understand what he said. He’s a great guy. He [was] in Mallorca practicing with me a couple of years ago. But overall, when you are young sometimes you have this point of view. At the end of the day, of course you have things to lose.”

And lose is almost certainly what Rublev is going to do on Wednesday. Aside from Dimitrov, the youngster has benefited from a favorable draw so far at Flushing Meadows (Goffin was far less than 100 percent in the fourth round). Nadal’s path has been a friendly one, too, but his continues with a fifth consecutive opponent outside the top 50. Rublev’s road, on the other hand, now becomes exponentially more difficult.

Combine the guy on the other side of the net with the pressure of by far the biggest match of his young career and Rublev’s run may come to an end after three sets.

Pick: Nadal in 3 losing 12 games or fewer

30 Comments on U.S. Open QF preview and prediction: Nadal vs. Rublev

  1. Easy win for Rafa, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

    Lol @Stanley, who very confidently said this was either 3 tight sets or 5 sets.

    • @Azurite,

      Easy win 4 Rafito, Congrats ok.
      No need for lol! I wasn’t confident and i made that clear before the match started but when nadal was up 2 sets & leading in 3rd set i was simply Joking.

      Well done & Congrats!

  2. Rafa is such a realist and so honest in his match assessments. He starts off by saying it was Rublev’s first slam QF and he made more mistakes than usual! He then talks about his performance.

  3. Rafa would definitely destroy Roger in the same fashion should they meet in semis. Roger might just give it up against Delpo as what happened in the last few US open opportunities.

    there is no way Rafa going to lose, 16th slam by Sunday.

      • You’re acting like Nadal is playing unbelievable tennis. His opponent hit 18 winners and 43 unforced errors and Rafa hit 21 winners and 20 unforced errors. Just don’t get how Rafa is the favorite after beating five players outside the top 50, with the two most dangerous players playing worthless tennis against him. If Fed makes the semis, his three opponents heading in were all much better than any of Rafa’s opponents so far. Only reason I would think Rafa could be favored is due to Fed’s two five setters at start of the tournament but I haven’t even seen that as a reasoning for why Rafa will certainly beat Fed.

        • Rafa is my favorite player, but I have to agree with this. Rafa played well, but Rublev played terrible.

          Rafa will only be the clear cut favorite when Roger is out of the tournament. Until then, it’s a toss up between those two, with Roger having a slight edge.

          Hopefully Rafa will be able to beat Roger (assuming he makes SF).

          Rafa has certainly raised his level from Cincy/Montreal, but I still think he has work to do, and could really cut down on his UFE Count.

        • Ben, you are on the money 95% of the time, so too here!

          Me and Stan feel the same.

          Rafa will definitely be a FAV in the bookies fake eyes as they know that Nadal is famous and can bring millions of dollar, all of which can go into the bookies pocket (without even touching the bank!lol) as he Nadal will lose to Federer for sure. This fact 99% of the tennis fans and 90% of the betting public don’t know. And they will fall into a deep hole (loss/loser hole) like 100’s of sheep falling into the same deep hole….one after the another…even after seeing all the sheep ahead falling into the same deep hole (loss/loser hole)…Ha,ha,ha…

          If Del Potro beats Fed (if his back pain recurs) then Nadal can beat Delpo in 4 or 5 sets! It will be a tough match though!

          Who wants to make the billionaire bookies…into multi-billionaires! Then raise your hands NOW and bet Nadal against Federer! Let’s see how many sheeps are in here!Ha,Ha,Ha…lol

        • Ive been watching tennis for a long time. Nadal is a moral for the title regardless of how many unforced errors Rublev hit.

    • vamosrafa SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 AT 8:22 PM

      Greg Rusedski thinks Rafa is now the favourite to win the USO .

      Who the xxxx is Greg Rusedski(This is Conor McGregor asking…not me!lol)?

      Greg, Brig(gs), Triggs etc…lol…are all bookies agents/men…spreading false info. on the Internet to get your, mine and his (all the bettors) money…into their big pockets!lol.

      Even Greg Rusedski and Rafa himself will bet a million dollars on Federer winning their upcoming match! Just ask Rafa (in private!lol). See if he says YES( million dollar bet on Federer) and get back here!lol

      Vamos Rafa…smash the virusy & sick Del Potro for us!

  4. Vamos Rafa!!!

    Don’t know who to cheer for in the night match. Been wanting a Fedal but DelPo’s such a hard luck case. I think Fed will win but it would be something if Del Po spoiled the Fedal meeting for the second time.

    Take it easy on Rublev, guys. He’s 19 and has had some nice wins this year. He’s got time to work on his game. Agree that a healthy Goffin would have won, and I have no idea what happened to Dim Dim – apparently just did not show up.

  5. Hopefully Fed can win to set up the historic semifinal. I know I’m a Fed fan but I love how humble Rafa was during his interview and in general. Gotta love his fight and his attitude on and off the court. Don’t know how some Fed fans or fans of other players can actually dislike Nadal. Two of the most humble and certainly the two greatest ever could be facing off next round and I am more than excited.

  6. Yeah, I would not want to get carried away with Rafa winning comfortably his last two matches…Rafa still needs to sharpen his game, cut on UEs and moves closer to the baseline. His court position will be crucial against Fed. Fed will be super aggressive vs Rafa and if he serves well he will be a real deal and tough to beat!

    I really can’t see a tired and sick Delpo beating Fed!

    Vamos Rafa!

  7. When Rafa playing his best tennis, no opposition can beat him including Nole. That explains his 10 RG where he always plays his best there.

    He seldom duplicates it on non clay, but when he does, the same reality applies. Like AO 09, USO 10 & 13.
    Rafa’s best beats the best of all big 4 or big 5, no doubt.

    When Rafa is world number 1, he wins USO.
    History repeats itself.

    Roger’s luck in USO is already over since 2008.
    In 2015, even he played his best tennis he only broke Nole 4 out of 17. When Lady Luck is not on your side, you just don’t win.

    • He didn’t play his best in that 2015 final. He missed a billion first and second serve returns and was just underwhelming in that match.

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