Monday, November 21, 2011

The Deuce Court: Rafa-Roger, Round 26

Deuce #1: Remembering the epics

There's a reason the tennis world basically stops every time Nadal and Federer play. It's been a while since episode 18 (see video above), and yes, not all their matches are resplendent with genius, but because of what we know -- that these two titans are capable of creating the most stirring of dramas -- we'll always be tremendously excited whenever the pairs shall meet. Maybe it won't happen tomorrow, but if it does, do you want to be one of the one's who wasn't watching?

Here's a scene from another epic, since I'm waxing poetic:

Deuce #2: Is Rafa is pulling away?

Whether Federer fans like it or not, Rafa has gained the edge in this storied rivalry, and he hasn't given any indication of giving it back this year. He thumped Roger on hard courts in Miami, winning 60 percent of the points; he was strong on the clay too, beating Fed in Madrid after losing the first set, then getting the best of Roger in their biggest match of the year, the Roland Garros final. Rafa has won nine of eleven against Federer, including four in a row in Slams, and two out of three on hard courts.

Is it realistic, now that Federer has turned 30, for Federer to expect more wins against the 25-year-old?

Ad In: Federer needs the backhand to function well

Federer, who usually struggles from the backhand side against Nadal, was flawless with the one-hander when he defeated Nadal at this event last year. If he can do that again, it will allow him to dictate with more than just his serve.

In case you missed it, here is one of those aforementioned backhands:

Deuce #3: They are even on hard courts

Before you get too bent out of shape about the 17-8 advantage that Rafa holds in the head-to-head over Federer, make note of the fact that the pair have split their eight previous matches on hard courts.

Ad Out: Fed chasing Edberg, Rafa chasing them both

At 803 wins, Federer has a chance to reach and possibly surpass one of his heroes, Stefan Edberg, on the ATP's all-time win list. Federer is currently seventh on the list. Nadal has 539 career wins, good for fourth among active players, behind Federer, Roddick and Hewitt.

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