Rome 2013 – The Finals

Serena Williams leads the head to heads 12-2 against Azarenka. Azarenka won thei last match which was in the final in Doha in February. Williams won the previous 10 meetings going back to 2009. They have only played once on clay which was a straight sets win for Williams in Madrid last year.

Williams won in Madrid last week despite a bizarre set against Medina Garrigues where she failed to win a single game. That was her first bagel since sister Venus handed her one 5 years before. There have been no slip ups this week. Halep in the semi final was the first opponent to take 3 games in a set and that used all her remaining energy as she didn’t win a game in the second set.

Azarenka has looked reasonable solid this week although was outplayed for much of her match with Stosur. She came through in 3 sets. In the semi final it was Errani’s turn to lose 6-0 but in the second set the little Italian won a late break and served for the set. She was broken  though and Azarenka took the set 7-5.

Williams starts at 1.27 . I’d say there is a fair chance that she will be broken early to give us a better price . Rather than lay I would prefer to wait for the higher price. if it doesn’t come then we haven’t lost anything. I think she has a few statements to make to Azarenka today. She will want revenge for Doha and she will want to demonstrate that she is the rightful number 1, a position she recently took from Azarenka.

 

Nadal and Federer have only met once in the last 12 months. That was in Indian Wells in March and Nadal won easily in 2 sets.

Nadal leads the head to heads 21-10. On clay its 12-2 with fed’s last win on the dirt coming in the Madrid final in 2009.

Federer took some time off after that defeat in Indian Wells and returned last week in Madrid. He looked rusty to say the least and was beaten by Nishikori in his second match. He is back with a new shorter hair cut and the body of someone who took their foot of the gas a little.

He had an gentle first couple of matches this week with Starace being an ideal first opponent to let him find his timing. Simon was poor in the next round and didn’t put up much of a fight. The quarter final was more of a test against Janowicz who had over powered everyone he had played including Tsonga and Gasquet. Fededer took the opening set but went a break down in the second. Janowicz tightened up and Fed was able to break back for 5-5 and they went into a tie break. Fed took the breaker easily.  His next round was against another player performing above their normal standard. Paire had lost just 1 game in his quarter final with Granollers and the usually flaky, unreliable Frenchman was showing uncharacteristic consistency. Paire won the first break in the 7th game but was immediately broken back. Federer won yet another tie break.  A single break in the third game of set 2 was enough to give him the match.

Nadal hasn’t had everything his own way this week. Gulbis played a virtually perfect set in their 3rd round match and almost bageled the King of Clay. Nadal had to dig very deep to come back as Gulbis was able to maintain a high level. Fellow Spaniard Ferrer is beginning to get the measure of Nadal and  was again able to take him to 3 sets. Once again though their third set was very one sided. many were predicting a tough match against Berdych who had beaten Djokovic in the previous round from a set and 2-5 down. If Berdych had any hopes of another big win Nadal immediately crushed them. He broke in the first game and a second break gave him the set. Berdych was better in the second set but his defenses were broken at 4-4 and Nadal served out the match.

Nadal starts at 1.26 which is the lowest I have seen for one of their matches. Berdych has been in good form but he was totally dominated yesterday. That first set was vintage Nadal. Federer hasn’t met top players this week but he has had to beat in form lower ranking players who didn’t have the experience to beat him in a big match.

Unless Federer finds some inspiration from somewhere this should be straight sets to Nadal. He has lost just 2 matches this season. One was to Djokovic in the Monte Carlo final and the other was in the final of his first tournament back after injury. I just don’t feel Federer is prepared enough to keep this competitive.

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