Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be contesting the final in Beijing. We have the dream final we have wanted. I had predicted in my pre-tournament preview that Djokovic and Nadal will vie for the crown. They have lived up to the expectations of all the tennis fans giving us another glorious chapter in their record-setting rivalry. They are playing for the 38th time, a record for ATP. As everyone and their dog knows, Rafael Nadal leads the rivalry 22-15. He is on a serious run of form since he had last lost to Steve Darcis in the 1st round of Wimbledon. He has already beaten Djokovic 2 times during this jaw-dropping streak – In Canadian Open and then repeated the dose in the big tournament in Big Apple, NYC – US Open.
Novak Djokovic has continued what he has been doing the last few years – keep finding a way to get the all important WIN. He had some stiff challenge from Fernando Verdasco, but he is looking every bit as menacing as he has been for the best part of the last 3 years. On sunday, he will need that manacing form to get his 1st title in nearly 6 months. His last title was at the Monaco Masters where he made beating Rafa on Clay look as easy as snatching a candy from a kid.
Rafael Nadal is no kid. He is going to bring every ounce of mental strength that makes him one of the ultimate warriors in all sport, to this battle in Beijing. He thrives on “not-allowing” anyone to snatch a match from him. Since the start of the hard court season, he has also started snatching matches away from others by stepping inside the court and playing an aggressive brand of tennis that always finds rewards on the fast courts – hardcourt or grass. The soon-to-be No.1 on the ATP tour has won his last 3 matches against Djokovic and will do everything he can to make it 4.
Who is going to win? I had predicted Djokovic to win in 2 sets and I really don’t feel the need to change it. As well as Rafa has played last few months, he is looking out of sorts this week. Fabulous Fognini almost got him, but Rafa did his Houdini act and escaped. I have seen Djokovic play this week and he looks like he is in the kind of form where he will hunt Houdini down, should he escape and then pin him down for good. I am second guessing on the number of sets, but Djokovic should win this match.
Prediction: Djokovic to win in 2 sets
In a cosmos where everything can be uncertain, Serena Williams is a sports analysts’ dream. I can write a story here about my dog or my cat and then safely end it saying Serena will win in two. That is really how easy it is to make a call on her matches. I really WANT to do that. I will not do that as it will be insulting to her opponent, Jelena Jankovic who, in my opinion, has the sweetest double-hand backhand in tennis. It is not looking very good for Jelena, however. She had to really battle her way out of a tough semi-final with Petra Kvitova, while Serena had a relatively less-tiring match against Radwanska. That is the bad news. Jankovic has troubled Serena in the past and has a very healthy H2H record against the younger Williams sister. I hope Jankovic can dig deep and make Serena dig deep – we will then have a wonderful contest.
Prediction: Serena Williams to win in 2 tough sets.
ATP – Tokyo
Delpotro and Raonic bring a rivalry which is already controversy filled and which has the potential to develop into something bigger. Of course, they have only played one match. That one match had controversy enough to last a life time. The firs thing would be for this match to be played in good spirit and if it can be anywhere as exciting as the semi-final match between Delpotro and Almagro, we will have ourselves a wonderful weekend.
Prediction: Delpotro to win in 3 sets.
Enjoy Tennis and Life, folks.