I have to say I’m a little surprised to see Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the final because they both had some time off with injuries, especially with Roger having six months away from the game.
Their form has turned around very quickly and both of them would say the time off, particularly for Roger for the length of time he had off, has given him a new lease of life in reference to his tennis career.
Given his record, it’s not surprising in that respect he’s got through to the final even though he was seeded 17th. His form has really hit a high peak somewhere where he was years ago.
For Nadal, his form has turned around as well, he had a few losses he wasn’t happy with but with his time off away from the game and recovering from certain injuries, it has revitalised his career as well.
It’s a final many people didn’t expect but when you analyse it, it was quietly on the cards.
I feel the surface favours Nadal a little more than Federer. While Roger is versatile on any surface and happy to play in these conditions, on this surface, it’s right up Nadal’s alley.
Federer has proved before he can’t rally from the back of the court with Nadal all of the time, we’ve seen some of that in every match which Nadal has won in this tournament.
He’s just so consistent and he just has such a good margin of error on his shots that it’s difficult to win points continuously from the back of the court.
So one way or another, Federer has to take a few risks and approach the net and also on the other hand you have to try to entice Nadal to come to the net because he’s a decent volleyer but he’s not as happy being at the net as we saw in his semi-final match against Dimitrov.
Nadal will look to extend the rallies and defend and that’s the way Nadal always plays, he’s very good at that.
It’s only sometimes when the ball lands short that he has to move closer to the net. But he’s serving well and everything is going pretty well so it looks like he might have the slight edge.
For Federer to win, he’s got to do everything so well, he’s got to employ a tactic of playing a versatile game, maybe take more chances and come to the net because he’s an extremely good volleyer.
He needs to serve as well as he can serve and he’s got to keep Nadal a little bit on the defensive with his first serve.
Nadal will do everything well and consistently, he’s serving well, and that’s a big advantage for him. Playing Nadal from the back of the court will only lead to longer rallies and he will finally wear you down.
Tip: Nadal at $1.82
Game Line: Nadal (-1.5) at $1.80
Set score: Nadal 3-1 at $4.20