Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal French Open Parlay - 6/7/2019
Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal
6:50am EST, 7th June 2019
Roland Garros (Paris, France)
Court Philippe Chatrier
After so many years of people saying how it's only matter of time when the Big trio is going to be dethroned, we are back at square one. Roger Federer decided to give clay court tennis another shot and after 3 years of absence, got into the semifinals without really breaking a sweat. Actually, the quarterfinal match vs his longtime friend Stan Wawrinka was pretty competitive when we look at the result. The scoreline of all sets was fairly close and Roger also lost the set for the first time in this tournament. But the final score is not really telling the entire truth. Stan did have its moment and pushed his countryman at times with a high-level ball striking. But through the majority of the match, Federer was simply a better player on the court. He had 18 break opportunities (but won only 2) and forced Wawrinka to literally clean the lines in order to save those break points. He was also very solid behind its own serve winning 70% of those points, offering his opponent only 5 break chances.
And why did I say that we are back at square one when it comes to the changes at the top. Because it seems like all the familiar faces are heading to the semifinals once again, while NextGen is probably going to be represented with only one player (or zero, depending on Thiem's eligibility to be in that category or not). First men semifinal is going to be an all-time classic. Standing on the other side of the net will be Rafael Nadal. 11-time Roland Garros champion stormed through his part of the draw and left no doubt who is the clear favorite for another title in Paris. In the 3rd round, we could see the only sign of weakness from him, when he lost the third set vs David Goffin. He recovered very quickly after that and won 7 sets in a row since then. Keeping in-form Londero to 8 games total and top 10 player Nishikori to 5, shows that he is ready as ever for this semifinal and another "heavyweight bout" with his arch rival Federer.
This is going to be the 39th encounter already. It's well documented that the Spaniard was always the most challenging matchup for the RF, especially on clay courts. Therefore it shouldn't be surprising that he is winning this battle 23-15 at the moment, with the lead mostly being built on the dirt (13-2). Most of the issues for Roger Federer in this matchup start from that diagonal exchange to his backhand side. Rafa puts enormous amounts of topspin on that shot, causing the ball to explode off the ground and bounce very high. For players with single-handed backhands (Federer), that shot is extremely difficult to deal with and pretty much impossible to counter with a solid offensive strike. Another issue is the speed of the court. It is too slow for an aggressive player like Roger, who likes to put his opponent under a lot of pressure with his clean ball striking which is way tougher to do on clay compared to faster playing surfaces. Especially vs an athlete like Nadal, who can run down pretty much anything.
Betting odds & prediction
Looking at the lines posted for this match, I can't shake off the feeling that they are slightly disrespectful. Roger could well be the greatest player of all times. And even considering his record vs Rafa on clay, I still don't think he should be 6 to 1 underdog. ML being that lopsided will put spread and total in a weird position as well. I mean c'mon, getting plus money for Federer not getting swept in straight sets has to hold some value. At the press conference he said: "If I wouldn't think I can beat Rafa, I wouldn't even be here".
Guy's Pick: Roger Federer +2.5 sets (-101)
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