US Open 2016: Finals predictions

I tried to stay awake, I really did, but despite the second men’s semi-final coinciding nicely with taking my better half to the airport at 3am in the morning and preparatory Red Bull’s purchased, my 30 years are catching up with me.

Still with that chapter now complete, we are at the Finals of the last major of 2016, the formbook hasn’t been completely torn up but we are nevertheless left with an intriguing duo.

Angelique Kerber vs Karolina Pliskova

It is difficult to look past Kerber on this one – she has faced each challenge with an assuredness and a self-belief that is garnered with winning a major title, and having the consistent year she has had won’t hurt either!

Pliskova though doesn’t seem the type to crumble – if the Czech can handle her first grand lam semi against Serena on home turf on Ashe then this shouldn’t feel too much.

Instead, I expect this to be a closely fought one, but one that Angie will ultimately prove too good – her game is showing no weaknesses, and Pliskova may just get a little desperate and the mistakes may creep in.

Verdict: Kerber in three tight sets

Novak Djokovic vs Stanislas Wawrinka

I missed the first two sets of the Monfils match last night – or rather after seeing how that first set was quickly unfolding, I chose to simply keep an eye on things via the Twittersphere. The Frenchman’s resurgence in the third – where I picked things up – seemed to suggest what I had predicted. Djokovic looked really off-colour and at 2-5 down I was convinced that he was wilting.

Such was the energy-sapping humidity of course that both men suddenly succumbed after every point.

Monfils instead would give up the ghost all too easily, prompting most to question his efforts.

Djokovic looked back to his best – perhaps this was a classic self-induced dip by the Serb, safe in the bosom of his two sets head start.

Problem for Novak is that in his final opponent here in Stan Wawrinka he has someone who has also played himself slowly into his best form when it matters most. Against Nishikori he was on glittering form and looked very much like his 2015 Roland Garros self – red alert for Djoko!

Nishikori made a bright start but I suspect a little bit of Murray-fatigue set in and once the door was left ever so slightly ajar, Stanimal pounced and never looked back.

It will be a great contest no doubt, and I believe in Wawrinka to deliver.

Verdict: Wawrinka in four,

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