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Sunday, 8 June 2014

French Open Day 15 Picks 2014- Men's Final: Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic (June 8th)

Rafael Nadal win 3-1 v Novak Djokovic: Anyone who backed my outright picks at the start of the tournament would have Rafael Nadal already on their side and it has worked out perfectly as he was the second favourite two weeks ago, but will be going off as the favourite for this Final.

That will give people an opportunity to lay off their pick on Nadal and enjoy what promises to be a fascinating Final between the two best players in the world as Novak Djokovic looks to complete his career Grand Slam. Djokovic doesn't hide his feelings and it has been clear for a couple of years that he is desperate to add the French Open to his Grand Slam collection and may feel he should have already won the tournament last season.

On that occasion, Djokovic was serving for a 53 lead in the final set against Nadal, but the controversial point where he hit the net despite looking like having a clear winner went against him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PvNyWod0Do

Granted, that wasn't the point that definitively decided the match, but I can't help but feel Djokovic would have likely won if he could have held at that point.

That win at Roland Garros sparked a run of three successive wins for Nadal over Djokovic which culminating at the US Open where the Spaniard won his second Grand Slam of the season, but since then it has been all Djokovic. He has won the last four matches between the pair, including in Rome just two weeks before this tournament which made Djokovic the favourite, but the Semi Final might have given us an indication as to where these players are both mentally and physically.

Rafael Nadal had arguably his best performance during this entire clay court season by dismissing Andy Murray for the loss of just six games, while Novak Djokovic had to come through four sets to beat Ernests Gulbis. The concern for Djokovic fans will be the last two sets when the Serb admitted he was feeling the physicality of the tournament and that won't be enough in a best of five against someone like Nadal who is probably more comfortable here than on any other court in the world.

The weather may not be quite to Nadal's liking though who told the press how much he enjoyed the warmth of Friday- Paris is still expected to be very warm, but there is a strong chance we will see rain and that may stop the court from really taking the top spin that Nadal can put on the ball.

It could be the equaliser for Djokovic to take advantage, but it has been proven again in this tournament as to how difficult it is to beat Nadal here. The Serb has the backhand that can level up the Nadal forehand, but the latter's performance on Friday was really eye-catching and I feel he has peaked for the tournament perfectly.

With Djokovic perhaps giving off a few doubts about his own fitness, I do think Nadal wins his ninth French Open title and moves level with Pete Sampras on fourteen Majors and perhaps reignites the 'greatest of all time' debate between him and Roger Federer. A win on Sunday will leave Nadal just three Majors behind Federer and certainly become a real threat to the Swiss maestro's record.

A surprise would be to see Nadal win this in straight sets considering how well Djokovic has played against him over the last nine months, so I will have a small interest that eight time winner here comes through in four sets.

MY PICK: Rafael Nadal Win 3-1 @ 4.50 William Hill (1 Unit)

French Open Update: 29-26, + 7.38 Units (106 Units Staked, + 6.96% Yield)

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