Saturday, 28 January 2012

Australian Open final preview

Rafael Nadal
The final match of the Australian Open will see Novak Djokovic take on Rafael Nadal in Sunday's mens final.  Both players have had terrific tournaments so far; Djokovic strolled through the opening rounds before being tested by Lleyton Hewitt and David Ferrer in the 4th round and quarter-finals respectively, and then surviving a physical marathon against Andy Murray in the semi-finals.  Nadal also came through the opening rounds in comfortable fashion before passing tough 4 set matches against Tomas Berdych and Roger Federer in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

Djokovic and Nadal have played each other 29 times but most significantly is that Djokovic has won their last six encounters.  These all occurred in finals in 2011 and took place on the hard courts, grass and clay.  The encounters were all very close including their epic match in the US Open final, but Djokovic always had a mental edge over the Spaniard.  I am really on the fence with this match; Nadal will have the early advantage because he will be much fresher going into the final having had an extra day off to prepare, but on the hand it will take something special from Nadal to overturn Djokovic in this match-up.  I am actually going to against my pre-tournament prediction and say that Nadal will win the title.  I do not normally do this, but I just cannot see how physically, Djokovic can challenge Nadal who is playing some great tennis at the moment.  It is a new year so i'm sensing that Nadal will break the run of losses in this intriguing head-to-head...

Prediction - Rafael Nadal to win in 4 sets

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