Sean Calvert previews this afternoon's clash between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals at the o2 in London, where he can't see past a Nadal win...
"It has always been a poor match-up for Roger, even when he was at his best and now he's slipped a few notches, while Nadal, if anything, has become even stronger..."
The semi finals of the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals are all set for Sunday, with Rafael Nadal facing Roger Federer for a place in the final this afternoon.
I, like many other punters no doubt, was left seething by Juan Martin Del Potro's inability to close out Roger Federer on Saturday, despite being a break up in all three sets that they played.
As I suggested yesterday, the number of sets looked a good bet at three, while there was consolation for Cash Out backers, as my recommendation of 2-1 Del Potro traded at 1.192/11 from an opening 4.47/2 and it touched 10.519/2 in play, so that would have made a tidy profit.
The outright loss was still painful though and perhaps Del Potro paid the price for playing too much tennis in the Asian swing and beyond, which left him a little short for London.
Federer's win sets up another clash with nemesis Nadal, who will be pretty confident coming into this having had a day off, while Fed was slugging it out against Delpo for two-and-a-half hours on Saturday.
The match-up and head-to-head are an obvious concern for Fed fans, with Rafa having won 21 of their 31 tour level matches and four of their last five over the last two seasons.
They've met three times this season and Rafa has won the lot, but he has never beaten Federer on an indoor hard court and was hammered 6-3, 6-0 in their last such meeting, which was here back in 2011.
That victory was Federer's last over Nadal and he's not in the kind of touch to be able to replicate such a score line on Sunday, but he's not without a squeak at this time of the season.
A squeak is probably all it is though, with Nadal fired up to win this event for the first time, having secured the world number one spot and coming into this match fresher and you can be sure he knows he's never beaten Fed in these conditions and will be anxious to put that right.
It has always been a poor match-up for Roger, even when he was at his best and now that he's slipped a few notches, while Nadal, if anything, has become even stronger, it's hard to see the indoor conditions making that much of a difference.
Yes, Federer can go for his shots more indoors, but he's not as consistent with them as he once was and it's slow enough here in London for Rafa to get enough of them back.
Rafa will pepper the Federer backhand and stick him in that corner until he can unleash a winner and there isn't a right lot that Roger can do about it unless he at is very best and I'm not so sure that he has that level in him any more.
The Swiss hasn't beaten either of the top two of Nadal and Novak Djokovic since Cincy back in 2012 and it's likely that he probably won't for the remainder of his career.
I can't see Rafa being anything less than very focused for this and slight odds-against for a 2-0 Nadal win here looks like it has to be the bet.
ATP P&L 2013
If you had backed all of Sean Calvert's ATP tennis tips this season with a £10 stake you would currently be + £1071.90.