ATP Monte Carlo – Quarter Final – Rafael Nadal vs David Ferrer
Today’s preview is in the last match on court in Monte Carlo, where countrymen Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer clash at around 4pm UK time.
To use a cricket phrase, there can be no doubt that in the past, Ferrer has been Nadal’s ‘bunny’, with the more illustrious Spaniard winning 22 out of 28 non-exhibition head to head meetings, and 11 of the 14 since 2011.
In a number of these, Ferrer failed to take advantage of leading positions, indicating that he has mental issues against arguably the greatest clay courter of all-time. Having said that, you have to go back to 2005 to find a best of 3 sets match where Nadal’s wins came via fewer than 3 games, and Nadal’s set wins have frequently come via dominant margins.
Much has been made of Nadal’s demise this year with the player himself saying he is nervous, but his clay stats haven’t dropped much at all from 2014. In 10 matches on the dirt this year, Nadal has lost just one (to the enigmatic Fabio Fognini), and held 87.5% and broken 39.2% (combined 126.7%) – very similar to his 83.1% holds and 44.3% breaks in 2014 (combined 127.4%).
This would indicate that Nadal’s issues have come away from the clay (he’s lost 4 of 12 matches on hard court this year) and at a venue where he’s triumphed on 8 occasions (although he did lose to Ferrer last year), he should be in confident mood today.
With the higher ranked player having a big projected hold edge, as well as a strong historical head to head lead, my model priced Nadal at 1.17, much shorter than the currently available 1.42 in the market.
In addition to this, in head to head matches since 2013, Nadal has held serve 88 times in 111 service games (79.3%), and Ferrer has held on just 59 occasions from 115 service games (51.3%), which would make my model price even shorter. Interestingly, in Ferrer’s two wins against Nadal in this time period, he achieved very similar break points to Nadal, so they weren’t dominant wins by any stretch.
In best of 3 set matches on clay priced between 1.20 and 1.49, when Nadal wins, he has always won by at least a 3 game margin, so this adds weight to the earlier historical head to head statistics.
All things considered, it’s difficult to go against Nadal here, and taking him giving up 3 games on the game handicap is logical and boosts the price to 1.70, and this is today’s recommendation.
Recommendation: Back Rafael Nadal -3 games at 1.70.
Prices correct at time of writing.
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