Clash Of The Titans!

Feb 1, 2009

And so the match up that everone has been hoping for – Federer vs. Nadal – has eventuated. The first meeting of these two men on the hard courts of Melbourne. There appears to be no clear favourite with supporters of both camps putting forward a strong case for why their man can win.

For me, I think it’s going to be Federer.

I think one of the key factors that is going to determine whether Federer wins this match is going to be how well he plays his angled ground strokes. Like no other player, possibly in history, Federer has an amzing ability to create angles from the baseline that are seemingly impossible – and are almost impossible to chase down, even for Rafa.

If you watch Nadal in a baseline rally you will see him stand back from the baseline a little until he feels in control of the point. From there he steps up and hits those booming shots deep which forces his opponent out of position and wins him the bulk of his points.

Federer’s use of angles is going to be an important factor in him winning this match. It will force Nadal to try and take control earlier in the point than he otherwise would, from positions where he is not fully in control of the point the way he would like to be. This will lead to openings that Federer can exploit.

I think another key factor will be Federer moving in to the net to finish points earlier than any other player does. One of Nadal’s weapons is his tenacity – he gets more balls back in to play than any other player. But there are times when he’s on the stretch, where these balls are hit a little high over the net, with a fraction less pace.

Federer will be aware of this and should attempt to close on the net where possible. There are very few players who do this simply because an attacking game at the net is not something that many of today’s players have. Even Federer will need to be on top of his game to execute, but if any one has the ability to do so it is him.

From what I’ve seen this tournament, I’m predicting a win for Federer. If he gets out in front and takes the first set, I wouldn’t be surprised if he won it in three. He’s been very sharp this year, and looks to me like a man who wants to reclaim what he believes is his rightful spot at the top of the tennis tree.

But you can be sure Nadal is not going to step aside without a fight. His semi-final on Friday will be a hard act to follow, but as last years epic final at Wimbledon showed, with these two men there is always the potential for the match to reach heights rarely seen in the sport. Lets hope tonight is one of those occasions.

Written by: Crooksy

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