ATP Barcelona Final
Rafael Nadal v Kei Nishikori
The final has turned out as a promoters dream in more ways than one. The top two seeds and highest ranked players in the draw have made it all the way to the Final and each will have a chance to create their own piece of history. Nadal has owned this court with 8 titles dating back to 2005 but it is Nishikori who has taken over the reigns in recent years. The Japanese star is the two time defending champion here and with the additional incentive this one shapes as a classic.
Nadal may lead the H2H 8-1 but the majority of those matches were played when Rafa was at the peak of his powers and Nishikori is still on the up. Kei has really developed his game over the last 18-24 months and in particular his point construction. He simply used to trade blows from the baseline but we now see him take advantage of good shots by closing to the nets and putting points away. That will be critical against Nadal who wears down his opponents by hitting high looping balls deep in the court.
The positive for Nishikori is that he can generate enough power of the backhand wing to go both up the line and cross court. The Wolf is expecting him to go behind Nadal as much as possible and attack his backhand in order to draw mid-court balls that he call put away up the line with his forehand. There is no better defensive player on clay than Nadal and if Kei is to defend his title he will have to be the aggressor. Both are yet to drop a set this tournament but this one will be going the distance. Nadal in 3.
Best: Nishikori +3.5 ($1.91)
Total: Over 21.5 games ($1.80)
Set Betting: Nadal 2-1 ($4.00)
1st Set Correct Score: Kei Nishikori 6-3 ($10.00)