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Page last updated at 22:50 GMT, Sunday, 12 September 2010 23:50 UK

Nadal & Djokovic US Open final postponed until Monday

US Open men's final, Flushing Meadows
Dates: Monday, 13 September Start time: 2100 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Sport website; text commentary online and on mobiles; live on Sky Sports

Rafael Nadal (left) and Novak Djokovic
Nadal is looking to join the tennis greats by defeating Djokovic in New York

The US Open final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic has been postponed until Monday because of persistent rain in New York on Sunday.

After the scheduled start time of 2100 BST was pushed back by the poor weather, a decision to postpone was made at 2320 BST.

The final will now take place at 2100 BST on Monday, after the conclusion of the women's doubles final.

"I'll just wait another day, that's not terrible," Nadal told 5 live.

It will be the third year in succession that a third Monday is required at Flushing Meadows because of rain.

Monday's play will begin with the closing games of the women's doubles final at 2000 BST, with Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova leading Vania King and Yaroslavl Shvedova 6-2 4-6 5-4.

The delay could work to Djokovic's advantage, giving him an unexpected extra day to recover from his epic five-set semi-final win over Roger Federer.

"I was having fun yesterday after the match, calling for the rain to give me more time, and here it is," Djokovic told 5 live.

"Maybe it's going to help me to recover and be fit for tomorrow. This rain might go in my favour but even if I played today I'd be ready, because a final is a match where you have to find the energy to perform your best."

MEN'S CAREER GRAND SLAMS
Fred Perry (GB) 1933-1935
Don Budge (US) 1937-1938
Rod Laver (Aus) 1960-1962
Roy Emerson (Aus) 1961-1964
Andre Agassi (US) 1992-1999
Roger Federer (Swiss) 2003-2009

US Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier explained the decision to call off play on Sunday relatively early (6.20pm local time), saying: "Our fear was the rain would not stop and it would be unfair on the players to keep them here, and certainly to our many fans."

And asked about the perennial question of building a roof over the huge Arthur Ashe Stadium, Widmaier estimated the cost at US$150m and described it as "both technically and financially challenging", while still "under consideration".

When the final does get under way, the 24-year-old Nadal will seek to become only the seventh man to win all four Grand Slam tennis tournaments as he competes in his first final at Flushing Meadows.

Serbia's Djokovic, 23, is into his second US final, having lost to Federer in 2007.

Spaniard Nadal has already won the French Open and Wimbledon crowns this season and is bidding to become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open titles in the same year.

He is yet to drop a set in the tournament and has only lost two service games.

Victory over third seed Djokovic would be the ninth Grand Slam title of his career and make him the second youngest player after Don Budge to complete a career slam of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles.

"The result of this match will change a lot," said Nadal. "It's another step in my career. It's a very important match for me."

Federer, who completed his own career slam with victory at the French Open in 2009, is backing Nadal to achieve the feat.

606: DEBATE
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"It's great for tennis," said the Swiss former world number one. "It's great for him at that young age to have that opportunity."

Djokovic may draw strength from his record against Nadal. Although the Serb trails 14-7 in their overall head-to-head, he has won their three most recent meetings and leads the rivalry 7-3 on hard courts.

"It's true that on hard court I do have my best chances against Rafa but he's still number one in the world and the one that's playing great tennis," said the 2008 Australian Open champion.

"It's going to be tough. He's going to be very motivated to win this title because it's the only major he hasn't won."

Nadal, whose last victory over Djokovic on hard courts came in the 2008 Beijing Olympics semi-final, has no doubts about the magnitude of the tasking facing him as he looks to become the finish Spanish man to win the US Open since Manuel Orantes in 1975.

"He's a very difficult opponent for me and I've had lots of losses against him on this kind of surface," said Nadal.

"He's a great player. I think he deserves to be in the final, because his mentality is always very positive."



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see also
Djokovic stuns Federer at US Open
11 Sep 10 |  Tennis
Nadal reaches first US Open final
11 Sep 10 |  Tennis
Clijsters storms to third US Open
12 Sep 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Women's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Live scores
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis


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