ATP World Tour Finals Semi Final
Afternoon Session, 2pm local
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer face each other for the 32nd time in their careers in Sunday afternoon’s semi final at the World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena. Check out the Nadal v Federer Head to Head.
Nadal eased through to this stage of the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record. He extended his lengthy head to head lead over David Ferrer with a straight sets victory while against Stanislas Wawrinka, two tiebreak victories saw him extend his record to 26-0 in sets over the Swiss no.2. Nadal was far from his best in what was a dead rubber for him in the final round robin match but would emerge a 6-4 1-6 6-3 winner over Tomas Berdych, owing a lot to two inopportune double faults from the Czech at 4-3 in the decider.
It was a bit tougher for Federer who had to come from a set and break down to take the match 4-6 7-6 7-5 against Juan Martin Del Potro to ensure his place in the semi finals. Del Potro broke early in each set but looked vulnerable once in front and almost managed to lose a 5-1 lead before taking the first set. However, he would lose both of the final two sets from 3-1 up as Federer began to hit freer once behind. Both him and Del Potro had beaten Richard Gasquet in the round robin stage and also lost in three sets to Novak Djokovic.
The early goings in the Nadal/Federer rivalry looked like it would be one that would be competitive through both their careers but it has definitely petered out in the last few years with their much hyped meetings often disappointing. However, their last meeting in Cincinnati went the distance as Federer put in an impressive first set performance before Nadal took charge, eventually winning 5-7 6-4 6-3. The victory for Nadal would extend his record over Federer to 21-10 and to 7-6 on hard courts.
Federer has somewhat of an advantage indoors with a 2-0 record on indoor hard although it’s very clear that his level is a long way from 2011 in which he dropped just three games at this very event. It would be the fourth straight win for Federer at the season ending tournament after a three set win in London in 2010 and wins in Shanghai in 2006 and 2007.
On what has been a terribly slow court and difficult to hit through, Federer managed to achieve the rare feat of a positive winner/unforced error differential in his win over Del Potro. He will need to be at his best to avoid going 0-4 against Nadal this year and will not be able to rely on Nadal losing his nerve if he gets a lead as Del Potro did on Saturday.
It’s been a match up that has proven to be troublesome time and time again for Federer and he will need to be at his best throughout the whole match – something that has been rare for Federer in recent times. The Swiss has shown glimpses of high level play throughout the event but was found wanting at the latter end of his match against Djokovic.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in three sets