Who is best equipped to stop Nadal from completing a career Slam?
Posted by tennisplanet on September 8, 2010
Nadal enjoys H2H 14-7 (sounds familiar?) but Djokovic has won the last three matches – all on hard courts – in straight sets – all in 2009. The next three matches – on clay – were won by Nadal BUT all three were very very close – one of them went to two tie breaks – one of the tie breaks coming in the deciding set.
And Djokovic enjoys the winning 7-3 H2H on hard courts. Last time Nadal won on hard courts against Djokovic was @ Olympics in 2008 – Nadal’s best year as a pro.
But as things stand today, as Djokovic finishes off Monfis, he has Federer or Soderling to contend with before facing Nadal. That line up may be just too much for him to compete against when facing a ‘full tank’ Nadal – unless of course he meets a beaten up and fatigued semifinal opponent. If he does, chances of him beating Nadal may not be that remote.
Nadal enjoys the winning H2H 5-2. But the two wins Soderling has had has been on hard courts AND some place called Roland Garros. That should be good enough to place Soderling as a legit contender to halt Nadal’s march into the history books. But wait, there’s more!!!!!!! The friction between the two that became quite personal at Wimbledon has added another dimension to their rivalry. It has to come into play here despite what anybody says and Soderling cannot ask for any better revenge than halting Nadal from reaching a milestone that has eluded him all his career – specially now that the draw has suddenly turned soft on him allowing Nadal his best chance EVER to win here.
Besides, the high shoulder ball that irritates Federer no end, falls perfectly into Soderling’s wheelhouse to turn it into a liability for Nadal – leaving Nadal with very few options to turn things around.
Despite the massive mental advantage and the 14-7 stat edge Nadal enjoys over Federer, Federer cannot be taken lightly as he appears to be hitting his stride just in time for the big stage. But it’s hard to imagine Federer suddenly coming up with an antidote for that high shoulder ball – Anaconda or no Anaconda. This is Federer’s personal jigsaw to solve independent of outside help.