20:00 – Nadal v Djokovic
Rankings are 1 and 3. Head to heads are 16-7 to Nadal. Surprisingly they have only played twice in the last 12 months. Both were on hard courts and both went to Nadal with a combined set score of 5-1.
Nadal has started slowly in his last 3 matches. He was 1-4 down to Del Potro, a set down against Karlovic and lost serve in the first game against Devvarman. As I said about him in the post about the semi finals he is a winner and he finds a way to win the big games.
Djokovic has probably been the more impressive of the 2 players and only Federer has managed to take a set off him in the last 2 weeks.
The slower surface would tend to favour Nadal but Djokovic has raised his game this season. Whenever Nadal is playing it almost becomes habit that we expect him to win and, lets face it he usually does. I have said before on here that Djokovic has now moved onto the same level as Nadal and Federer and just like yesterday he starts as slight favourite for this one.
Nadal’s style of play makes him awkward to beat. It was designed that way. As we know he was forced to switch to playing lefthanded as they are harder for some players to adjust to. Djokovic is playing the best tennis of his life and he has moved from one of my least favourite players to one of my faves. That is partly due to his improved fitness levels. Prior to the last 12 months if the sun was shining he would feel faint or get heat stroke and give away my profit but he has sorted that little problem.
I expect Nadal to again start slowly and Djokovic needs to make the most of it. If he can get the first set its a long way back for the Spaniard. Nadal, however is the master of the comeback. We will see 3 sets today and I will stick with Djokovic to come out on top. This will be his biggest year yet.
Lay Nadal from the start and lay the first set winner.
Update: It was Nadal who had the better start. In the opening 2 or 3 games Djokovic seemed to be struggling with the sun or his eyes or whatever it was. Nadal got the first break but was immediately broken back. Another Nadal break gave him the chance to serve for the set which he did easily. Djokovic needed to up his game. In the early part of the second set it was looking like it was going to be the Spaniards day but Djokovic grew in confidence to equal the score at 1 set all.
He didn’t let me down in the deciding set to win the title 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.