Federer v Tsonga:
These players met in the recent Final in Paris which Fed won in straight sets although the second set went to a tie break.
Head to heads are 6-3 to Federer.
The courts at the O2 aren’t the fastest hardcourts and I feel that has to favour Federer who is also more used to the conditions and set up in London. You would aslo think that in current form if Tsonga wasn’t able to at least take a set on home soil then he won’t find it easy today.
In Paris Tsonga’s serve and in particular his second serve were at times a liability. If he wants to make any impact at all at the finals he will need his serve to be at its very best.
Federer start at 1.22 which is no price to be backing at the Finals even though I expect him to control the match. Our best hope is that either Tsonga comes out playing incredible aggressive tennis ( which is quite possible) or that Fed has a poor opening set ( which is possible but would surprise me ). Either of those scenarios would give a better price to back Federer.
Tsonga has shown quite recently that he is capable of beating Federer but I think Federer will be super motivated, they are on a slower court and Federer can adapt his came much more easily than the Frenchman.
Probably a similar scoreline to the Paris Final.
Update: Similar start to their last match with Fed breaking twice in the first set but Tsonga did exactly the same in the second.
Federer took a tight third set to record his first win of the Finals.
Federer won 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Nadal v Fish:
Head to heads are 7-1 in Nadal’s favour. Fish’s single win came in August this year and so is very relevent.
Fish has had hamstring problems in recent weeks and retired against Monaco although its possible he was trying to give himself time to get fit for London and the Finals. He will probably be looking to keep the points short but that would need him to dominate the match which I don’t see happening.
Its possible Nadal will be a little match rusty for a few games as he hasn’t played a match for over a month.
Last year Nadal was badly out of form and lost all three of his matches at the Tour Finals. The memory of that week will have stayed with him for the last 12 months and this will give him any extra motivation that he may need to put that behind him.
This feels like a similar match to the earlier one where we have a chance of a higher price to back the market favourite. I think everything is stacked against Fish today. He will need to have confidence that his injury has healed enough to not hamper his play but it is bounds to be in his thoughts during the match. He is also unlucky to play Nadal first and could end up as collateral damage as Nadal sets out to show last year’s finals were a one off.
Hard to see beyond a Nadal win.
Edit: Its been pointed out to me that Nadal lost all 3 matches in 2009 and not 2010 which sort of weakens my post! I still stand by the expected result though
Update: Fish was broken in the first game and was broken again as Nadal took the opening set. In the second set Nadal didn’t look himself and Fish was able to break and hang on for the set.
Nadal went 2-0 up in the third set and then ran from the court for a toilet break. When he returned he looked pale and lost the next 3 games which included 2 breaks of serve. However Fish could hold his next service game and we were back on serve.
The set went to a tie break and Nadal took it.
Nadal won 6-2, 3-6, 7-6.