Stanislas Wawrinka's superb victory over reigning US Open Champions Andy Murray was arguably the finest moment of his career, however, it should not come as a surprise to many.

Wawrinka has had a stunning 2013 and seemingly addressed the issues that had always held him back.

His performance against Murray on Thursday, as well as Novak Djokovic at the 2013 Australian Open should not leave anybody in doubt about his ability to outplay the best players on tour.

Wawrinka had always previously lived in the shadows of his Swiss compatriot Roger Federer but his dominant win, coupled with Federer's exit has rushed him in to the spotlight.

Richard Gasquet overcoming David Ferrer in his semi-final was also another shock, especially in a gruelling five-set match, which would typically favour the Spaniard, who is the fitter player of the two.

As a youngster, Gasquet was tipped to be a French great and future number one. The weight of expectation is something he has never been able to live up to. Nadal is just two weeks his senior and overwhelming favourite to reach the final on Monday, this will undoubtedly allow the Frenchman to play with a sense of freedom and make for a great match. 

Whilst both Wawrinka and Gasquet boast dismal records against their opponents, they certainly have the weapons at their disposal to hurt them and it would be doing both players a huge disservice by assuming we will see Nadal and Djokovic continue their rivalry on Arthur Ashe.

For Nadal and Djokovic, this is a defining moment in their careers. Both players have matured greatly and have adapted successfully adapted to all court surfaces. 

For the Serb there is definitely more to lose, the disappointment of losing out on a career Grand Slam to Nadal yet again at Roland Garros seems to have set his game back and continued into Wimbledon and the hard court season with disappointing performances at Montreal and Cincinnati.

Winning the US Open would get the world No.1 back on track and be a major boost heading into his favoured Australian Open next year.

Conversely, Rafael Nadal has arguably the best season of any player in history, winning ATP Masters 1000 events at Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome, Montreal and Cincinnati as well as successfully retaining his Roland Garros crown.

With the Spaniard in top form this presents an excellent opportunity to win his 13th Grand Slam and close in on Federer's record.

The world No.2 has always performed well at the Australian Open when fit and will be looking to dethrone Djokovic there next year. Every major is of huge significance, however, sky is the limit for whoever walks away with the trophy at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

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Topics:
Rafael Nadal
Richard Gasquet
Stanislas Wawrinka
Tennis
Novak Djokovic
US Open Tennis