14:00 – Djokovic v Berdych
Rankings are 3 and 6. Head to heads are 3-1 to Djokovic.
Djokovic has qualified for these finals for the last 4 seasons and played well at the O2 last time around. He beat eventual winner Davydenko and also Nadal last year, although everyone beat Nadal!
He is a player who tends to get better as the season goes on and he has to be a contender to win this event.
Berych started the season well and reached his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon but his form has dropped since then. he blames it on the fact that he doesn’t go into matches as underdog so much now and he has struggled to get his head round that fact.
When Berdych is playing well his serve is a big part of his game. Over the last month he has held serve 77% of the time compared to 87% from Djokovic. Djokovic seems to have sorted out the problems he was having with his own serve.
Djokovic is better on return of serve. His greater experience at this event and also his superior recent form make him a strong favourite. I don’t see an upset in this one.
Djokovic can sometimes have a wobble at the start of a match so be wary of that. If Djokovic is playing anything like his best tennis he will win this comfortably.
1.26 isn’t a great price to be backing at but perhaps backing with half stakes from the start and adding the other half if he goes a break down or maybe 0-30 on his own serve will improve things slightly.
Update: Djokovic won 6-3, 6-3.
20:00 – Nadal v Roddick
Rankings are 1 and 8. Head to heads are 5-3 to Nadal although Roddick won their last match in March of this year.
The players have commented on how slow the surface is at the O2. This has to be an advantage to Nadal although the Spaniard has said he likes the speed of the court but not the fact that the ball is staying low.
Nadal is back from injury so perhaps won’t be at his best. Also Roddick has been in very good form over recent weeks. Having said that Roddick will need to be more aggressive to win this one.
Over the last 3 months they have held serve 95% and 91%. Today will come down to which player is able to deal with the opponent’s serve most effectively and that has to give Nadal an edge.
1.41 is a decent price for Nadal here although it could well be a tie break in the first set. Perhaps a similar approach to the first game might be a good idea. Back Nadal with half stakes and add the other half if he gets broken early.
Update: Nadal did get broken early having had 2 break points himself in the very first game. Roddick played well and hung on to take the set. Nadal came back to take the second in a tie break and then took the deciding set.
Nadal won 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.