Australian Open Stat Attack: Four reasons to back Rafa

Novak Djokovic comes into the Australian Open final with the upper hand on Rafa Nadal after winning all six encounters between the two in 2011, but there is enough in this to think the Spanish lefty can take revenge in Melbourne...

Five reasons to back Rafael Nadal @ 2.47/5 to defeat Novak Djokovic
It hardly comes as a surprise to see the top two players in world come face to face in the Australian Open final, having been the finalists in the last Grand Slams.

While Novak Djokovic's 2011 dominance over his Spanish foe includes Grand Slam final wins at Wimbledon and the US Open, Rafael Nadal will see today's match-up as a fresh start to the new year with revenge on his mind.

• Djokovic was victorious in all six head-to-head matches last year, the Spaniard leads the overall head-to-head series 16-13 including one win against his nemesis in a Grand Slam final, at the 2010 US Open.

• Djokovic is undoubtedly a worthy favourite based on his hard-court and Grand Slam results over the last year and could be said to have the psychological advantage over Nadal thanks to this recent dominance. However Nadal's form from the last fortnight suggests he can push Djokovic all the way. What could be significant is the fact that the world number one comes into this match having played a five set semi-final match against Any Murray that lasted five hours. Nadal got past Roger Federer in far less time and has had an extra day's rest. Moreover, from his last two matches, Nadal has played a total of eight sets and has committed just 64 unforced errors, whereas Djokovic compiled 69 of them in his semi-final match alone...

• Nadal comes into this match having won ten matches in a row in five-set matches, six in a row on hard courts and six in a row in Australia. The Spaniard holds a 68% career win record in finals and 71.4% of wins in Grand Slam finals.

• The left-hander also boasts superior tournament stats on First Serve Percentage, First Serve Points Won, and First Serve Return Points won (event leader). Nadal's mix of aggressive and defensive play frequently forces errors from his opponents. If Djokovic doesn't win this match in straight sets then I believe Nadal will have enough stamina and motivation to end his poor run against the world number one.
My prediction is for Rafa to grind out a result in four or five sets, 'Vamos Rafa'...

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