Well as soon as both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray made their early exits from the Australian Open, the final that everyone wanted to see was Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal and that is what we have. We had two remarkable semi finals from the two of them as well, with Federer taking five sets to edge out Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka in his showdown, while a day later it was Rafael Nadal who needed five sets to reach the final as he held his nerve against Grigor Dimitrov.
Nadal will be attempting to win his 15th career Grand Slam title and this is the first Grand Slam final that he has been in since the 2014 season. Troubled by injuries and a dip in form over the past couple of years, it has been a long way back for Nadal and the question is, will him having played a day later than Federer did for his semi final, and having needed over five hours on court to best Dimitrov, work against him in the Final against Federer, which is likely to be a close test?
Federer’s win over Wawrinka was done in around the three hour mark, so that is a lot of extra rest advantage that the Swiss Superstar will have on his side as he takes on his old rival once more. But Federer did need a five-set match to get past Kei Nishikori in the fourth round as well. This is a pretty unlikely final to have occurred because this is Federer’s first competitive action after having been on the sidelines for six months with a knee injury. After dominating the men’s game between 2004 and 2010, the two old rivals are back together and they both look fit and on top of their respective games.
The last time that they were together in the final of a Grand Slam was back in 2011. Overall throughout their careers, they have met 34 times since 2004 and Nadal impressively leads the head to head 23-11. Eight of those meetings were in Grand Slam Finals and just the one of those eight happened at the Australian Open, which was in 2009 when Nadal won the battle in five sets. Nadal leads the Grand Slam head to head with Federer 6-2.
Nadal and Federer last played each other in 2015 at Basel, a game which Roger Federer won in three. But in 2014 they did meet, perhaps tellingly, in the Australian Open semi finals and Nadal cruised to a three set win in that one. Nadal has won five of the last last six meetings between the two greats. In the Total Sets market there is a price of 21/10 at Paddy Power on this one going to 5 Sets while the 4 Set Return is a 6/4 punt.
Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal Odds
Rafael Nadal 4/5, Roger Federer 11/10
Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal Prediction
There is a price of 7/2 on Nadal to take a 3-1 set win that has some appeal in this one. Only three of the last seven have gone the distance between these two and you would imagine that under the pressure and after the work that has been done by both in Melbourne, one is going to crack a little bit. The Spaniard goes as narrow favourite for the win in the match outright and it is he who has dominated the head to head in recent meetings. The last time that Federer took down Nadal was at Wimbledon almost ten years ago. There will be talk of Federer taking the extra rest, but Nadal has proven already in his match with Dimitrov and in an early round against young upstart Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open that his fitness is extremely hard to match. Expect an epic battle, but not the five setter.
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