US OPEN '18: Nadal aims for 2nd title in a row in New York

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 25, 2018 10:13 AM
US OPEN '18: Nadal aims for 2nd title in a row in New York
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the championship trophy after defeating Kevin Anderson, of South Africa, in the men's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Nadal is the men's No. 1 seed at this year's U.S. Open, which starts Monday. (AP Photo/Andres Kudack, File)

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press

Men to watch at the U.S. Open, where play begins Monday:

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RAFAEL NADAL

Seeded: 1

Ranked: 1

Age: 32

Country: Spain

2018 Match Record: 40-3

2018 Singles Titles: 5

Career Singles Titles: 80

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 17 — U.S. Open ('10, '13, '17), Wimbledon ('08, '10), French Open ('05, '06, '07, '08, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14, '17, '18), Australian Open ('09)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-Won Championship,'16-Lost in 4th Round,'15-3rd,'14-Did Not Play,'13-W

Aces: Won the U.S. Open as No. 1 seed in 2010, 2017. ... Trying to become first man to repeat as champion in New York since Roger Federer won his fifth in a row in 2008.

Topspin: Beat two past U.S. Open champions and two future stars en route to tuneup title at Toronto Masters this month.

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ROGER FEDERER

Seeded: 2

Ranked: 2

Age: 37

Country: Switzerland

2018 Match Record: 33-5

2018 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 98

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — U.S. Open ('04, '05, '06, '07, '08), Wimbledon ('03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '09, '12, '17), Australian Open ('04, '06, '07, '10, '17, '18), French Open ('09)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-QF,'16-DNP,'15-RU,'14-SF,'13-4th

Aces: Only made it to the final at Flushing Meadows once in the decade since his last title. ... Could face Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

Topspin: Still has never played Nadal at the U.S. Open. If they meet this year, it would be for the title.

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JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO

Seeded: 3

Ranked: 3

Age: 29

Country: Argentina

2018 Match Record: 37-10

2018 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 22

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open ('09)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-SF, '16-QF, '15-DNP, '14-DNP, '13-2nd

Aces: Playing in his 22nd major tournament since his lone such title. If he gets a second, he would set an Open era record for most Slam appearances before No. 2.

Topspin: Biggest forehand in the game makes him ever-dangerous on hard courts. Just needs his oft-repaired left wrist to hold up on backhands.

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ALEXANDER ZVEREV

Ranked: 4

Seeded: 4

Age: 21

Country: Germany

2018 Match Record: 43-13

2018 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 9

Major Titles: 0 — Best: QF, French Open ('18)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-2nd,'16-2nd,'15-1st,'14-DNP,'13-DNP

Aces: Recently started working with Ivan Lendl, saying: "He's a smart man, a great guy. Done it as a player, done it as a coach, so he knows what it takes."

Topspin: Has won three Masters titles. Now it's time to step up at a Grand Slam tournament and get to his first semifinal.

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KEVIN ANDERSON

Seeded: 5

Ranked: 5

Age: 32

Country: South Africa

2018 Match Record: 33-1

2018 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 4

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, U.S. Open ('17)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-RU, '16-3rd, '15-QF, '14-3rd, '13-2nd

Aces: Runner-up at two of the past four majors, including in New York last year, then again at Wimbledon last month.

Topspin: Coming into his own late in his career, he's shown that with a big serve and consistent groundstrokes, he is a contender on fast surfaces.

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC

Seeded: 6

Ranked: 6

Age: 31

Country: Serbia

2018 Match Record: 33-10

2018 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 70

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 13 — U.S. Open ('11, '15), Wimbledon ('11, '14, '15, '18), Australian Open ('08, '11, '12, '13, '15, '16), French Open ('16)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-DNP, '16-RU, '15-W, '14-SF, '13-RU

Aces: Since starting the year 6-6, has gone 27-4. ... Titles at Wimbledon and Cincinnati Masters (beating Federer in the final) make him a popular pick.

Topspin: Sure seems very close to being right back at his best after a lull caused at least in part by an injured right elbow.

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JOHN ISNER

Seeded: 11

Ranked: 11

Age: 33

Country: United States

2018 Match Record: 26-5

2018 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 14

Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: QF, U.S. Open ('11)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-3rd, '16-3rd, '15-4th, '14-3rd, '13-3rd

Aces: 12 of 14 titles have come in the U.S. ... Just one quarterfinal appearance in New York, way back in 2011.

Topspin: Says playing with calm and not fretting over results helped him have his best season, including first Slam semifinal at Wimbledon.

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