Match Preview: Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal

These two champions will be playing for the 37th time in their careers and the third time this year as they do battle in the Miami Open final tomorrow. These two are spot 1 and 2 in the Race to London so they are the most in-form players of the year and both are hoping to continue their run of form tomorrow. Federer dropped one set in both his quarterfinal and semifinal with his best win coming over Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. Nadal dropped a bagel set in his third round and his best win came over Jack Sock in the quarterfinals.

Recent Form

Roger Federer has been playing what some people have called the best tennis of his career at the age of 35, a lot older than the traditionally successful tennis player. He started the year very well as he claimed his 18th grand slam at the Australian Open despite his team, Swizterland, not making it through the group stage at the Hopman Cup. He then had a slight blip as he fell in the third round of Dubai to a player outside the top 100 but then erased that memory by marching his way to a victory in Indian Wells. He is currently the top ranked player in the Race to London by over 1000 points. Rafael Nadal has also had a very decent start to the year as he made the quarterfinals in Brisbane and then made an unexpected run to the final of the Australian Open. He followed that up with an Acapulco final but then fell in the fourth round of Indian Wells to Federer. He holds the second spot in the Race to London behind the man he will face tomorrow.

Miami Form

Roger Federer has played at this tournament 13 times since his first appearance in 2001 when he was just 19 years of age. His best results at the tournament came in 2005 and 2006 when he won the tournament with wins over Rafael Nadal and Ivan Lubicic in the finals. His worst result can in 2012 when he lost in the third round to Andy Roddick but he hasn’t played her since 2014 due to injury and illness so he is defending no points this tournament. Rafael Nadal has played in Miami for the past 12 years since 2004 and his best results have been reaching the final in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014 when he lost to Federer, Nikolay Davydenko and twice to Novak Djokovic. His worst results came in 2007 and last year in 2016 when he fell in the second round. Last year he was forced to withdraw in the third set of his second round so he had virtually no points to defend coming in to this tournament.

Head to Head

These two have one of the most exciting and historic rivals in men’s tennis and Nadal currently leads their head to head 23-13. However, Federer has won the past three match against Nadal in a row for the first in their careers so he will be feeling confident heading into the match. Their recent matches have seen Federer defeat Nadal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the 2015 final of Basel, Federer defeat Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the final of the 2017 Australian Open and Federer defeat Nadal 6-2, 6-3 just a couple of weeks ago in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. I think that the head to head will be on both of these men’s minds heading in to the final as Nadal will feel like he has something to prove in not losing to someone he has dominated in the past for the fourth time in a row.

Prediction

Nadal will come out feeling quite nervous and unsure of himself and won’t be able to strike the ball as well as he can were as Federer will come out feeling confident and striking the ball very well. Federer will tear throughout the first set without showing any mercy but Nadal will make a significant number of unforced errors on the way to Federer taking the 6-0 set. Nadal will be able to calm himself down for the second set and he will be playing at the high level he has played in some of his matches this week but that won’t be enough to stop Federer. They will exchange a break or two on the way to a tiebreaker, in which Federer will get off to a good start in and take the tournament with a 6-0, 7-6 win.

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