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Shanghai Masters Day 8 Preview: Little to split Nadal and Federer in dream final

Roger and Rafa are likely to play a high-quality final...
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The dream final that everyone - with the exception of Marin Cilic and Juan Martin Del Potro's most ardent supporters - wanted in the Shanghai Masters final takes place tomorrow. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews Rafa Nadal against Roger Federer.

"The quick conditions also contribute to high projected hold percentages, with Rafa having an edge due to his marginally better return data, but with both players expected to hold more than the ATP mean we can look at trading strategies to incorporate this."

Federer and Nadal meet having dropped one set each all week

Saturday's action saw Rafa progress, in straight sets, at the expense of Marin Cilic, and my suspicion that Nadal would have joy on the Cilic serve, as witnessed by the historical head to head data, was proven correct, with Nadal breaking the Croat on three occasions and also failing to convert multiple break points in two further return games.

Federer was broken in just one service game against Del Potro, and his loss of the first set means that both he and Rafa have dropped just one set this week, and both my model and the market rate the players fairly evenly, with Rafa's status as the [1.71] favourite looking about right.


Nadal favourite status justified due to slight return edge

This is primarily due to Nadal's edge on return, with the Spaniard breaking opponents 28.5% on hard courts in the last 12 months - Federer has done so 25.8% of the time. Both players have held an identical figure, 89.9%, on the surface in that time period.

Having said this, it's worth noting that Federer has won the last four head to head meetings, although Rafa leads the head to head series 24-14 overall. Certainly, the match-up issues which appeared to beset Roger in years gone by appear to have vanished of late, and in quick conditions, the Swiss legend is definitely not without a chance.


High projected hold percentages for both in quick conditions

The quick conditions also contribute to high projected hold percentages, with Rafa having an edge due to his marginally better return data, but with both players expected to hold more than the ATP mean we can look at trading strategies to incorporate this.

Primarily, these focus on backing the duo when bigger than SP and 0-30 and 15-40 down on serve, with hedging for profit potential if they gets back to 30-30, deuce or holds serve. In a match where I expect both players to be desperate for a victory in advance of the World Tour Finals next month, saving break points will be critical.

This match sees the Asian hard court swing draw to a conclusion, and I'll be back on Monday to preview the 250 level Indoor Hard ATP events taking place next week in Antwerp, Moscow and Stockholm.


Recommended Bets

Back either player at bigger prices than SP, when 0-30 or 15-40 down on serve (with a view to hedging at the end of that service game)


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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings


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