Saturday was another good day for my wagers at the 2013 Shanghai Rolex Masters when Juan Martin Del Potro started superbly against Rafa Nadal.
My set handicap wager on Delpo was home in around 45 minutes as the Argentine brought his bludgeoning best to the court and blew Nadal away to land the opening set 6-2. The number six seed carried on in much the same manner in the second set and was a deserved winner over the world number one.
Novak Djokovic vs Juan Martin Del Potro
Standing between Delpo and a first ever Masters 1000 title is the significant presence of the world number two and the Serb was in feisty mood in his semi-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with several passionate rants at the umpire Carlos Bernardes over perceived injustices regarding line calls.
Rarely have we seen Novak react like that and perhaps he’s feeling the pressure a little bit at the moment.
Despite having met 12 times in all competitions this will be the first ever final that this pair have contested, with four of their last five clashes coming in semi-finals. Djokovic leads the overall by nine wins to three and on outdoor hard courts the score is 4-1 to the Serb, with Delpo’s win at Indian Wells this year the only success he’s had over Nole.
But their meetings this season and last have by and large been close, culminating in the epic Wimbledon semi-final win for Djokovic in a five set classic this summer and anything like a repeat of that level on Sunday will be hugely entertaining.
My concern for Del Potro backers here is that the stunning level that Delpo played at against Nadal may not be reproduced in the final and anything less will almost certainly lead to a defeat against a clearly determined Djokovic.
The fast pace of the courts will help though and my gut feeling here is that the match will be close, but ultimately go the way of Djokovic. The 2-1 Djokovic win appeals at 3.40, as does over 22.5 games at 1.70.
It really depends on whether or not we see the same superb tennis from the Argentine in consecutive days and it’s more than likely that his level will dip a touch, which tips the balance the way of the Serb.
Back Djokovic to beat Del Potro 2-1 at 3.40
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