Both are closely matched on evaluations going into the final, writes Jack Houghton, but it does not necessarily mean we will see a protracted match…
Preparing the data for this particular side-market preview, it was a surprise to have to trawl back almost five years to find the spreadsheet that I used the last time Djokovic and Nadal fulfilled in the final of a significant: the 2014 French Open. That it has been so long says something about the increasing fragility of this duo, particularly the injury woes and private strife that has seen both having extending intervals off the court in the last few years.
They’re back, though, with Nadal, particularly, appearing as imperious as when at his peak, revealing hard-court kind that most (myself included) assumed was now beyond his brittle body’s capability. That has meant that my assertion – which an outsider could mess the centenary celebrations of the Big Three – has not been borne out, regardless of the strong performance of pre-tournament 90.00-recommendation, Daniil Medvedev, who briefly looked to trouble Djokovic within their last-16 experience.
No, this year’s Australian Open title will go the way of the institution and, whilst Djokovic is the small favorite at 1.81 into Nadal’s 2.22, I’d struggle to separate the two. They enter the closing boasting near-identical Elo scores according to my ratings and, whilst Djokovic’s excellence raises on that front when filtering for hard-court matches just, which has to do with Nadal’s recent inability to advance over a few rounds around the tough stuff before retiring with injury than it does some other playing inferiority. And, since Dan Weston asserts in his semi-final preview (test it out, together with his upcoming final preview, here), it’s Nadal who appears at the ascendency in Melbourne.
Most Aces – It’s all about the Purchase Price Considering that their pre-eminence in the last couple of decades, it is always startling to reflect on how few aces this duo functions, demonstrating how much the game has changed since the 1990s, as it appeared like big servers could forever dominate the men’s game, except for a brief interlude during the clay court season, when some older guys would get to play a couple more matches.
The ace count within their matches is generally low and closely contested, but, up to now, head-to-head, Djokovic has functioned more on 32 occasions, accounting for 63% of the masters. This last figure is slightly skewed, however, by some matches where Djokovic dominated the ace-race, like the gigantic five-setter semi-final at Wimbledon last year. It’s worth remembering that eight of the matches have observed the duo tie ace count.
According to the data, Djokovic should most likely be about 1.56 to function the most experts, which seems to be about where the industry is settling. If the odds dropped as much as 1.40, however, I would be a coating, hoping to get a repeat of the 2012 closing here, at which Nadal won the ace-race by one.
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