Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka contest the 2014 Australian Open Final on Sunday in Melbourne and Sean Calvert can't see anything other than a win for Rafa...
"I get the feeling that Stan will win a set this time after coming agonisingly close several times lately and the Nadal 3-1 is a good proposition at around 3.814/5."
My bets in the men's semi final between Nadal and Roger Federer were very unfortunate, with a tie break that went Rafa's way spoiling my 8.07/1 shot of Federer 7-6 in set one and effectively my Nadal 3-1 wager too.
Of course I still have my outright on Stan Wawrinka going, as my 70.069/1 back-to-lay tip faces off against Nadal in Sunday's final and surely only the very brave will let their stakes in that one ride.
The pair meet for the 13th time and it seems unlikely that it will prove to be unlucky for Nadal, who has owned this match-up to the tune of 12-0 and 26-0 in sets.
It's a very similar match-up to the Federer clash for Rafa, who will deploy his usual tactic of a heavily spun leftie forehand into the single-handed backhand of the new Swiss number one and Stan will need to play the match of his life to make this close I feel.
Having backed Stan pre-tournament the worst opponent possible in the final had to be Nadal, who in the end didn't have as tricky as draw as it first appeared thanks to losses for Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Murray and who comes here relatively fresh after playing just 14 sets all tournament.
The concerns over his blistered left hand proved unfounded, although it still looks very painful, it didn't seem to hamper the Spaniard one bit against Federer and he looks highly likely to land a second Australian Open crown on Sunday.
It's a big ask for Wawrinka, who is an emotional character, to come out from the word go in his first major final and start blasting winners and he looked nervous early against Tomas Berdych.
Magnus Norman is a great addition to the Stan set up but even he has his work cut out trying to find a game plan and keeping Stan's nerves under control at the same time.
Wawrinka needs to continue to serve well and earn as many free points as he can, which Federer didn't really do, and he can take heart from his stats in three of his last four sets played against Nadal that have gone to tie breaks.
Their most recent meeting indoors at the World Tour Finals saw Wawrinka lose in two breakers, but he won 80% of his first serve points and 59% of his second, while it was a first serve percentage of just 47 that let him down. He created more break points than Rafa that day and on those stats he has a shot.
That said, it was an end of year performance from Nadal that day and I would expect a lot more from him on Sunday, as he seeks to level Pete Sampras's mark of 14 major titles.
It goes without saying that the Wawrinka forehand and backhand are going to have to zone for the majority of the match as well as the serve for him to have a chance here and he has to win that first set.
In their seven meetings away from clay the opening set has gone over 9.5 games six times, with tie breaks in four of them, so the overs in set one looks good if Wawrinka can handle his nerves. The 1.75/7 about a tie break being played is also worthy of consideration.
I'm not sure about the Nadal 3-0 here at 2.1211/10, as I get the feeling that Stan will win a set this time after coming agonisingly close several times lately and the Nadal 3-1 is a better proposition at around 3.814/5.
I don't like the +5.5 games on the handicap about Wawrinka, as we could easily see a disconsolate Stan fade in set three if he's 2-0 down and if you do fancy the 3-0 Nadal it might prove better value to back the Rafa minus 2.5 games on the handicap in set three.
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