| By Eric C. Peck
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg

It all comes down to today, the final day of the 2011 U.S. Open and the Men's Singles Finals match between the top two seeded players, top-seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic and second-seeded Rafael Nadal from Spain. Things get underway at 4:00 p.m. EST at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

This year marks the first time since the 1996 U.S. Open when the finals on the men's side of the draw will feature the number one seed playing the number two seed. That year, top-seeded Pete Sampras defeated second-seeded Michael Chang in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(3), to win his fourth men's singles crown. Djokovic, ranked number one on the ATP tour, has a flawless 5-0 record versus Nadal so far in 2011. Djokovic is looking to add another "W" to his record this year today as he seeks his 64th win of 2011 against just two losses ... two losses? Nadal does, however hold a 16-12 lifetime record over Djokovic in head-to-head matchups.

Djokovic is looking to add to his trophy collection as he already holds the 2011 Australian Open and Wimbledon titles, and if it weren't for a 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) loss to Roger Federer in the semifinals at the French Open, Djokovic would be seeking a clean sweep of all four Grand Slams in 2011. Also to note, Federer's French Open win over Djokovic in the semis marked the first blemish on the Serbian's perfect 43 win streak in 2011. Djokovic did get his revenge over Federer Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Open en route to the finals, rallying from two sets down and to beat the five-time U.S. Open champion, Federer, 6-7 (7-9), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.

Today, it'll be Djokovic looking to avenge his loss to Nadal in the 2010 U.S. Open finals. Last year at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Nadal finally broke through at the Grand Slam event that had presented him the biggest challenge of his career when he captured the men's singles title over Djokovic in four sets, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Eric C. Peck is Editor-in-Chief of Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at eric@litennismag.com