Following a quick win in his opening ATP Tour Finals contest against Ferrer, World no. 1 Rafael Nadal (Player Profile) is back on court on Wednesday afternoon against Stanislas Wawrinka (Player Profile). It is the fourth time they meet this year and Wawrinka is yet to best Nadal on the professional tour. The Nadal v Wawrinka Head to Head stands at 11-0.
Nadal avenged his last week loss from Paris to Ferrer with a dominant Tuesday showing in the O2 Arena. The World No. 1 won 81 percent of the points after his first serve found the mark and converted six out of seven break point opportunities to secure a 6-3, 6-2 win over his fellow countryman. He appeared more comfortable on the slower surface in London and was in complete control of the match from the very beginning. He committed far fewer errors and forced Ferrer into uncomfortable hitting positions. The win ensures that we will likely have an in-form Nadal for the remainder of the tournament. He still has group stage matches against Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych and is next scheduled to meet the Swiss No. 2 in less than 24 hours.
Rafa is needs only one more win to secure the No.1 year-end ranking, which will heighten the stakes for Wednesday’s encounter.
Wawrinka withstood 16 aces and 5 break point opportunities to earn his first ever World Tour Finals win. Apart from the second set tiebreak, it was a strong showing from the Swiss No. 2 as he defeated the towering Czech in three sets. The win puts him in a stronger spot in the group and will raise his confidence heading into his match against the world No. 1 Nadal.
He also has the benefit of an extra day’s rest, which should not be underestimated in its worth. In the tail-end of the season, where all the players are tired and fatigued from a long season, small advantages such as that make all the difference. Considering this match is also on an indoor hard court, this setup could potentially suit Wawrinka the most to pick up the upset.
“Yeah, I think it’s the best surface to play him [Nadal], for sure.” Wawrinka said following his match on Monday. “But I play him in Shanghai. Was quite fast, the center court. He was playing again better than me. For sure he’s a much better player than me. He’s No. 1 in the world. He had an incredible year. Doesn’t matter if I play him indoors or outdoors, it’s going to be a tough match for me.”
Nadal holds a perfect 11-0 head-head record over Wawrinka, most of which were far from competitive. They have already met three times in 2013, with their most recent match being a exciting battle at the Shanghai Masters. While Wawrinka is currently in form, it is hard to imagine that he will have an answer for Nadal come tomorrow afternoon. While his chances are certainly higher on a hard court, the London surface has slower condition than Shanghai, which will only allow Rafa to thrive.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal defeats Stanislas Wawrinka