Sunday is final day at the Western and Southern Open 2013 and the ATP championship match features John Isner and Rafa Nadal at 5.30pm UK time.
Isner is here by the skin of his teeth after somehow foiling Juan Martin Del Potro. The Argentine appeared to have full control of the situation at a set and *5-3 ahead, but double faulted on match point. After going on to lose the subsequent breaker the energy visibly drained from Delpo, who offered little resistance in a one-sided final set.
My second wager of Saturday found the mark when Tomas Berdych played Nadal tough until the vital moments, when the Spaniard produced at the right times to land a 7-5, 7-5 victory that was enough for my overs wager to be successful.
Today’s final will be the fourth meeting between Isner and Nadal. The first three all went the way of the Spaniard, but they haven’t been straightforward wins for Rafa, and in any case they haven’t faced each other for over two years now.
Rafa is short at 1.18, as I have him more like a 1.4 shot for this on the stats. But he has such a great record against players ranked below him and also in finals that it’s hard to see him not walking away with this trophy tonight.
Nadal is 48-22 in finals and other than that one loss to Horacio Zeballos when he was coming back from injury in Vina Del Mar, he has only ever lost one other final to a player who hasn’t at some point in his career been ranked in the top three in the world. That was to Mikhail Youzhny in Chennai back in 2008, so Isner’s chances aren’t looking great.
I do expect it to take a while for Rafa to get a handle on the big man’s serve though, as he has been putting it down very well this week. So my bet in this one is to take the over 10.5 games in set one at around 2.25. Only two of Isner’s last 12 matches have ended in fewer than 10.5 games in the opening set, so the odds are clearly in our favour there.
Best bet: Back over 10.5 games in set one at 2.25