It’s final day at La Caja Magica, and the men’s championship match sees Rafa Nadal take on Stan Wawrinka at 3pm UK time.
I am still incredulous about how Tomas Berdych managed to mess up his semi-final against Wawrinka yesterday from 4-2 ahead in the final set and holding two break points for a 5-2 lead. But choke he did and somehow Wawrinka is in the final. As for Rafa, he had a more relaxed afternoon after taking advantage of a clearly nervous Pablo Andujar to take the opening set 6-0, but a spirited fightback from a less nervy Andujar in set two saw him lead before Rafa closed it out 6-4.
It will be the ninth meeting between Nadal and Wawrinka and the Spaniard is yet to drop even a set to the Swiss number two. Rafa has not been at his best this week, while Stan has played some excellent tennis, so I don’t think Rafa is invincible today and perhaps shouldn’t be as short in the betting as 1.14.
The problem Stan has is it’s a pretty awful match-up for any-right handed player with a single-handed backhand. Rafa hasn’t lost to such a player on clay since 2009 in the first Madrid Masters to be held on the red dirt when another Swiss, Roger Federer, beat him in the final.
If Rafa is vulnerable to a single-hander it’s here in Madrid, where the balls fly and Wawrinka definitely has some sort of chance today. But he’s got to be feeling it after a lot of tennis this last fortnight and he does still have choking tendencies and will be nervous today.
The 5.60 about a Stan win is tempting, but I can’t see him having the consistency to constantly hit his groundies true enough for long enough to beat Nadal. For me, the bets to consider are the handicap for Wawrinka or the total games. I like the over 20.5 games at 1.85.
Best bet: Back over 20.5 games at 1.85