As if the Williams sisters final on the women’s singles side of things wasn’t enough, the Australian Open saved another blockbuster showdown for last with the 35th head-to-head clash between all-time greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Both Nadal and Federer are well past their prime, and yet they find themselves in another ATP Tour Grand Slam Final this Sunday in Melbourne. What sort of stunning outcome did the pundits from the web predict for this toss-up of a dream matchup? Let’s find out below.
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2017 Australian Open Men’s Singles Final Expert Picks
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|Merlisa Lawrence Corbett||Federer (4 sets)|
Despite Nadal’s better record against Federer, Merlisa Lawrence Corbett of Bleacher Report still went with the Swiss phenom to come out on top from Melbourne.
Corbett likes the fact that Federer is well-rested not just because it’s the first major tournament of the season and that Federer has no wear-and-tear of the long season on him yet for this year, but also given that Nadal needed almost five hours to escape the semis in his match against Grigor Dimitrov. Not only that, but she also stated that Dimitrov’s game is akin to Federer’s, and Rafa didn’t appear prepared enough to handle such a play style.
The Courier Mail
The Courier Mail, one of Australia’s long-running news sites, went with a different approach for their predictions by gathering inputs from local ATP Tour greats on how they think Saturday’s showdown will pan out.
The results were pretty close and each tennis legend had some reservations for either one of these players one way or another, but Federer got the popular opinion in the end, 5-3. Two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt had the same argument as Bleacher Report’s Corbett by stating the importance of Nadal’s grueling semifinal bout. Hewitt’s fellow Aussie and former Wimbledon winner, Pat Cash, also likes Federer’s chances in a fast-paced, night-time game on the hard courts this Sunday.
Meanwhile, Hall-of-Famer Rod Laver couldn’t ignore just how good Nadal’s forehand is, and he even recalls Federer praising the Spaniard’s forehand power that has given the Swiss sensation many problems in the past.
Last Word on Tennis
|Steen Kirby||Federer (4 sets)|
|Yesh Ginsburg||Nadal (4 sets)|
|Ricky Dimon||Nadal (4 sets)|
Lastly, two of the three folks over at the Last Word on Tennis blog sided with Nadal in becoming a two-time Australian Open champion.
Both Yesh Ginsburg and Ricky Dimon stated that Nadal’s past performances versus Federer as a whole speaks volumes, as Rafa has a 23-11 all-time record against Roger head-to-head, including 6-2 in Grand Slam finals. Dimon even further emphasized that Nadal is undefeated in three Australian Open meetings against Federer, and that the Spanish clay-court specialist also has a slight 9-7 edge on the hard courts over the Basel native as well.
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