Day 14: Men’s Final
Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal (7:30pm)
There are no words to describe what we are about to witness. They occupied the top two spots in the ranking for over 5 years and have been entrenched in the top 5 for as long as we can remember but the last 6 months has been difficult to say the least.
Injury was a foreign word to Federer and after missing the second half of the season he has exceeded everyone’s expectations, including his own, to make a record 28th Grand Slam Final. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that he has done it in his first official tournament since returning from knee surgery.
Then there is his nemesis, the ‘Raging Bull’, Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard continues to defy his critics and his body by running down more balls than the energizer bunny and he will do it all again on on Rod Laver Arena against a very familiar opponent.
Federer and Nadal meet in the final of a slam for the first time since 2011. It is a matchup that Rafa has dominated over the years and he holds a 23-11 edge including a 9-2 record at the majors. That being said 14 of Rafa’s wins have come on his beloved clay surface and they are 9-9 if you don’t consider their meetings on clay.
Both men deserve huge credit for the physical condition they are in but it should come as no surprise as both men use their physical ability and strength as a building block for the rest of their game. Each have played multiple 5 set matches to get here and showed great resolve ion the deciding sets,
Dimitrov will have been the perfect lead in match for Nadal as he plays a very similar game style to Roger. That being said, if Grigor can go that close to beating Nadal, a more complete player in Federer has to be the favourite. The Swiss maestro can flatten his forehand out more effectively than Grigor, has a superior serve and net game. Nadal seems more inclined than even to go into ultra defence mode when put under pressure and that is good news for Roger.
With 31 Grand Slams between them there is no shortage of experience but there is so much on the line in this one. Federer hasn’t won a slam since 2012 while Rafa is gunning for just his 2nd Australian Open title. This is an opportunity that neither player may get again an The Wolf says they will leave everything out on the court – EVERYTHING!
We have seen their games fluctuate in their respective matches and that makes the Over the best bet. With the courts still playing fast in the evening The Wolf likes Roger as the underdog – especially after seeing him insist on playing up on and inside the baseline. It is the most effective way to put pressure on Rafa and prevent him from getting high looping balls to the Federer backhand. Wolfy says this one will not disappoint. We are going 5 sets!
Best Bet: Over 40.5 games ($1.80)
Value Bet: Federer WIN ($2.10)
Sets Total: 5 Sets ($2.85)