16th March 2014 – The Finals

There have been a lot of unexpected results in Indian Wells this year. No one I know of predicted a Pennetta v Radwanska final. I’m sure plenty went for a Federer v Djokovic last match. An injury to Wawrinka scuppered my own prediction.

 

19:00Pennetta v Radwanska

If we go back as far as 2010 Pennetta has been in just 5 finals. She was favourite in all of them but won just one.She seems to have found a new self confidence since she returned from injury and when you put that together with her vast experience it can make her a very tough opponent.

Radwanska has been in ten finals in the last 3 seasons. She won 7 of them. We expect her to be supremely consistent so when recently she had a couple of really poor performances people started to think she had real problems. However if you look at her results for the season so far she has had an excellent start to 2014. Semi finals in Melbourne, Doha and again this week is impressive. Only really Dubai was disappointing when she lost her opening match to Pennetta.

We can’t know how Pennetta will handle the situation. I was surprised that she beat Li Na not least because she had looked totally spent in her 3 set win over Sloane Stephens.

The slower courts seem to suit Radwanska even though they take away her counter attacking option. She has she shot making ability to move Pennetta around the court. Pennetta usually moves really well but I still don’t think she will have the energy to be competitive  for the whole match especially if it turns into a battle.

No value on Radwanska at SP though and it would be great if she went an early break behind.

 

 

21:00Federer v Djokovic

In the last 3 seasons they have played 8 times. Djokovic leads 5-3 . The market is at a level that it was in 2012 due to Federer being further down the rankings. However if we look at how they’re performing more recently Djokovic’s price looks to be wrong.

The sign of an in form champion is how their performance during an event evolves. This is especially evident in the larger events which have an extra round. They conserve energy for the latter rounds and do just enough to get through. Occasionally of course they misjudge things and have to dig themselves out of a hole but this is how they plan their tournament.

As this tournament has progressed Federer has stepped up through the gears. He has given less away on his own serve. He has won more points on his opponent’s second serve. He hasn’t dropped a set.

Djokovic’s numbers have been less structured. Three of his five matches have gone to three sets. He badly misjudged the match against Gonzalez losing the second set. He has played 13 sets compared to Federer’s  10.

None of the above tells us for certain who will win this match but given that Federer won their only previous match this season we have massive value on Federer.

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