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NADAL HINAMBALOS SI DEL POTRO VS SOUTH AFRICAN SA FINALS

FAVORITE. Si Rafael Nadal habang seryoso sa practice session nila ni Lucas Pouille bago ang first round ng French Open sa Paris. Ranked No. 4 si Nadal, pero popular pick para magbulsa ng record 10th title niya sa Roland Garros. (AFP)
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NEW YORK — Bago sumalang si Rafael Nadal­ sa semifinal ng US Open laban kay Juan Martin del Potro gumawa na siya ng game plan: umiwas sa ­nakayayanig na forehand at sa halip ay targetin ang mahinang backhand nito.

Sinubukan ni Nadal ang nasabing game plan, ­kahit pa nga olat siya sa first set.

Pero, nang unti-unti na niyang naisasagawa nang maayos ang strategy, nagbago ang ihip ng hangin, hanggang tuluyang talunin si Del Potro, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2.

“I was wrong in the way that I was trying to play, no? … I started to understand a little bit better what I needed to do to try to be a little bit more unpredictable, because he was waiting for me in his backhand side,” kuwento ni Nadal. “He only had to cover 60 percent of the court most of the time.”

“He played so smart from the second set until the end of the match,” komento naman ni Del Potro. “He was dominant.”

Makakalaban ni No. 1 Nadal sa Linggo, si No. 32 Kevin Anderson ng South Africa, na tumalo­ naman kay Pablo Carreno Busta, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4, para maging lowest-ranked US Open finalist sapul na ang ATP’s computer rankings ay nagsi­mula noong 1973.