It might not be the men’s final that we were expecting, but I think that we’re in for a great show here in Melbourne on Sunday.
Rafael Nadal was always expected to get into the final, and I wasn’t surprised that he powered past Roger Federer in his semi-final. Roger did really well to beat Andy Murray in four sets in the quarters, but Rafa is at another level at the moment and Roger didn’t stand a chance.
Obviously Nadal is once again the favourite for this match at 1.17, and while I think he will win, surprise opponent Stanislas Wawrinka is also a great player who will be determined to do well in what is his first Grand Slam final. Stan has really proved his quality in the past year, and I think you can expect good things from him both here and in the future.
But the 5.20 shot is going to have to play the match of his life to be in with any chance of challenging here. Nadal will make him stretch for each and every shot throughout the match.
The Spaniard is an animal. He goes for everything whatever side he is playing from, forehand or backhand. He is all work, work, work, and that will eventually prove too much for even the most resilient of opponents.
That said, I think this match will be harder for Rafa than his semi-final was. Wawrinka plays in a different way to his fellow Swiss Federer and he is better equipped to exploit Nadal’s slight weaknesses. Rafa has always liked playing against Federer, but Stan is a different proposition technically and he could prove to be an awkward opponent - Wawrinka has a great backhand, he moves well and strikes the ball well too.
Even so, I think Nadal will win in four sets, with a 3-1 win priced at a very tempting 3.70.
I think Rafa will take the first set, which is at 1.33, but that Wawrinka will take the second and worry Nadal somewhat along the way.
Ultimately, though, the Spanish matador is just too good, and I fully expect that we’ll be seeing him lift his second Australian Open title, and 14th Grand Slam overall, here in Melbourne on Sunday.
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