Kafelnikov calls on Medvedev to frustrate Nadal

Rafael Nadal (pictured) will win the US Open unless Daniil Medvedev changes his game-plan, says Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov has told Daniil Medvedev that he needs to shorten points to have any hope of beating Rafael Nadal in the US Open final (Match Betting – Medvedev 7/2, Nadal 2/11).

The pair clash on Sunday at Flushing Meadows at opposite ends of their careers. While Nadal has conquered the Arthur Ashe Stadium three times in his past, the match will be Medvedev’s first major showpiece following his brilliant 7-6 6-4 6-3 win over Grigor Dimitrov in the semis.

After showing signs of promise in recent seasons, 2019 has been the Moscow-born starlet’s year, cracking the top five in the rankings for the first time.

That ascent has been helped by his win at the Cincinnati Masters. However, prior to that, he reached the final of the Rogers Cup, only to lose 3-6 0-6 to Nadal.

Kafelnikov won the Men’s Doubles at Flushing Meadows alongside Daniel Vacek in 1997, one of many highlights in an illustrious career that included four doubles majors, as well as glory at the French and Australian Opens as an individual.

Victory for Medvedev (5/2 to break serve first) on Sunday would see him become the first male Russian since Marat Safin in 2006 to win a major and his compatriot believes he must stick to a game-plan that limits Nadal’s chances of finding his rhythm.

“If you want to just go and have fun on the court, it’s not going to cut it. You’re not going to win against Rafa,” Kafelnikov told the ATP website. “You need to go on the court with the mindset, ‘Okay, I’ve got a game plan. I need to stick to that game plan and execute it.’

“Daniil’s game has been that the longer the rally goes, the better chance that Daniil has to win the point. Tomorrow is going to be the opposite. The longer the rallies go, Nadal will destroy him. So Daniil needs to shorten up the points, come into the net as much as he can. It’s completely opposite of his game, I know, but that’s the only chance he can beat Nadal tomorrow.”

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