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“He lost three matches this year,” Djokovic said. “With no doubt, he’s the best player in the moment this year, no question about it.”

This will be their sixth meeting in a Grand Slam final.

In addition to the split at Flushing Meadows, they’ve met once each at the other three Grand Slams.

Included in those matches was their five-set Australian Open masterpiece in 2012 that went 5 hours, 53 minutes, a record for a Grand Slam final.

Later that year, they had a four-set final at the French Open that stretched over two days because of the rain.

This year, Nadal pulled out a 9-7 win in the fifth set of a semifinal at Roland Garros, denying Djokovic a chance at the closing leg of the career Grand Slam he most dearly wanted to honor his one-time coach, Jelena Gencic, who died earlier during the tournament.

Their only meeting this year on a hard court came in a U.S. Open tuneup in Montreal, where Nadal won the best-of-3-sets match in a third-set tiebreaker.

Indeed, these are always memorable affairs, though Nadal acknowledged with a laugh that he’d rather be playing someone else.

“In the end, we have to be honest, no?” he said. “Talking about a final, I’d want to play against a player that I have more chances to win. But I play against him. I’ve played against him a lot of times. Always, we’ve played very exciting matches.”