Fedal 34.0: It’s On In Basel

Well, it’s been almost a two-year wait but we finally have our Federer vs Nadal rematch. The rivalry has become very one-sided of late with Nadal winning the last five encounters so the break was not the worst thing to happen, but it is too big a rivalry for it to just be over. For Nadal at least, there is still ground to conquer. For Federer too, but if things keep going the way it has been between them of late then Nadal will beat Federer at the worst possible place for him.

Nadal has infiltrated just about all Federer’s territory and made himself at home. He’s done it at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and recently even in Cincinnati and the world Tour Finals, two tournaments where you would still have called Federer the favorite even after all the losses to his big rival. The only ground left for Nadal to conquer now is Basel, the Swiss’ headquarters on tour.

Will Nadal infiltrate Federer’s last stronghold and make the ownage complete or will Federer be able to at least defend his home turf? I think the psychological toll on Federer would be big if Nadal does defeat him tomorrow. If that happens you gotta feel sorry for the guy. It could even hasten his retirement. Nadal is on his way back and a win over Federer tomorrow on a fast indoor court would be his best victory of the entire year.

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It has often been said that Nadal needs a match against Federer when his confidence is low. Well, he will get that opportunity tomorrow and if he wins that may just be the victory that makes his return to form official. It will certainly give him a huge confidence boost. Nadal has never made it past the quarterfinals of Basel. He has lost in the first round twice and last year he lost to Coric in the quarterfinals.

It’s surprising that he got this far and I hope the people who keep saying he is not getting back to form will at least admit that much. Nadal is supposedly playing desperately poor tennis and yet he defeated four more than competent indoor players to make the final. Today he defeated Gasquet 6-4, 7-6(7) who was having a great week and is a very decent indoor player. The weird thing is he still hasn’t impressed me this week.

Something is still missing. How can that be when he’s just had his best result ever at Basel? I don’t know the answer to that, but Federer has not impressed me either. I didn’t watch his match today, but I saw the scoreboard when it was 6-3, 5-2 in Federer’s favor. I thought Federer would win 6-3, 6-2 and it looked to me like he was making a statement. Then when I got home I saw the final score was 6-3, 6-4.

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Advantage Nadal. If both are unimpressive then I have to give Nadal the edge. Federer needed to make a statement after looking pretty average this week if he wanted to be my favorite. Certainly Federer could win. We can’t see the future. But I’m gonna have to give Nadal the edge here given the rivalry’s history and their respective forms. That’s just the way I see it.

The bookies have Federer easily as the favorite which I find somewhat strange, but then the odds will probably adapt as more people put money on Nadal. Certainly with the odds I have seen so far if you are into betting then I’d put money on Nadal. And by the way, I don’t condone betting at all. Just saying it doesn’t sound like bad odds to me. I’d rather not you run the risk of giving your money to people who don’t deserve it.

Whatever the case may be, I’m glad we finally have our Fedal rematch and I’m very much looking forward to it. Federer can certainly do with a win over Nadal and another Basel title. He’s looked burned out of late and a victory can help him get some of his mojo back and end the season on a high. On the other hand, the tide has been swinging in Nadal’s favor of late and we know what happens to Federer in that case…

Who will win 34.0?

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The is in your court.

Posted in ATP 500, Basel.

25 Comments

  1. I’m glad this match is happening too. I’d love to see fed take Rafa down and reignite his fire but I very much doubt that will happen. Roger looked pretty flat and miserable out there today and for the last few matches as well. I would easily take the odds and bet on Nadal tomorrow, but you know me, I genuinely hope Rog can grow some balls and slay his personal dragon.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey, Eric, nice to hear from you. All good with your work? Yeah, I know you but historically speaking Nadal has to be the favorite. You know me as well and I like realism. If I think Nadal is the favorite I will say it.

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    Eric Reply:

    Yep, I said it too! Not just historicall but even current form, Rafa is the favorite. Thanks for asking. Work is rough. Am stuck trying to get the go ahead to start on the next draft. It’s too much of a blessing opportunity to complain about but for the last six months it’s been nothing but pain. I will bust through this resistance. Failure is not an option.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Visualize the end result you want ;-) Good luck.

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    Eric Reply:

    Thanks brother! Super important to keep seeing and steering towards the right outcome. That’s the discipline required to get it done. Appreciate the reminder.

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  2. Federer in three extremely close sets IMO. Probably wins the first set, loses the second, goes something like 5-1 up in the third then almost chokes it and wins maybe 6-4. I can’t foresee an easy match either way. A straightforward demolition by Federer or Nadal is of course a possibility, but I think they will both play much better in the final and we will have an entertaining match. But if Federer loses I will never wish for another Fedal match ever again. If he loses this one it’s over. Nadal’s dominance will be complete, and even if there is another match in the future I probably won’t watch it as the outcome would be nothing more than an inevitability. I remember someone made a comparison between a man shooting a gun (Nadal) in a fight against an unarmed man (Federer). No matter how good the unarmed man is at fighting, if they start at a distance the only thing is how quickly it will be over. If the gunman’s aim is good, it will be over very quickly, but even if his aim is bad at first he will always hit the target eventually. Nearly every Fedal match of any importance follows one of two patterns: Nadal is too good and wins easily, or Federer starts well, gets in front early, then caves in at the first sign of a Nadal comeback. So I would like to think Federer will win, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he loses. Strangely this match seems far more important than it should, it almost feels like a Wimbledon final to me as a Federer fan. Obviously from a Nadal perspective it really doesn’t matter, the court doesn’t favour him and he would still have had a good week. For Federer’s sake I really do hope he wins this. Because it might inspire him to win a few more matches on different surfaces against Nadal and perhaps even up the H2H a little bit. I could tolerate something like 24-14 or 26-15 as a fan. And I think it would significantly reduce the H2H argument against Federer.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s going to be interesting Charlie.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah it feels perhaps more significant than it is, after all this is just a 500 final, but interesting nonetheless. I would much rather have seen a Wimbledon or US Open match but Nadal was not good enough to meet Federer, as has been the case for the last 18 months or so. Strange how Nadal always avoids Federer when Federer is playing well, and also as you say how linked their careers seem to be. When Federer plays badly Nadal usually does well and vice versa. The last time one of them won 2+ slams and the other won 1 was 2010, which is insane given how good they have both played in patches since then, Federer in 2012, 2014 and 2015 and Nadal in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    It probably feels significant because you are a Fedfan and realizes what it will mean if Federer loses.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Or that :-)

    You are right, if he loses it does mean a lot and effectively means there is no way around the H2H argument. I will still think he is GOAT for now but if Djokovic or Nadal reach his slam total that H2H makes his position impossible to defend even for me at that point.

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    Charlie Reply:

    COME ON ROGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Nadal beating Federer today (fast indoor Basel) would be ultimate scientific proof that Nadal owns Federer. As no GOAT can be owned, this would be proof that Federer is not GOAT. However, if Federer beats Nadal, one can still argue that H2H is distorted by Rafa losing in early rounds on many occasions, that Federer is not owned by Nadal (apart from clay, but there is no dispute that Nadal is clay GOAT) and that Federer can be considered to be GOAT.

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    Ian Reply:

    “Ultimate scientific proof……..” Getting a little out of sync here you are George. As for that pasted article from tennis X, it’s one of the worst analysis on the web on upcoming Fedal match. Did Sean actually watch the matches in Basel?! I agree with Ru-an. Nadal has the edge. He is playing into form while Rf is playing like a tired old 34 year old. Nadal has escaped Rf how many times when Rf was at top of his game on his favourite surface. IMHO if Nadal wins this match it only proves again that Nadal always escaped Rf when the former is at his best – nothing more than that. To me, Nadal already owns Rf, doesn’t need Nadal to win this match to prove it. At the same time, even if Rf loses, it doesn’t prove at all that Nadal is better than Rf on quick indoor courts. GOAT is overall play and records. For now Rf has the best despite the thorn of the H2h with Nadal, he is GOAT no matter how you look at it. Period. This final at Basel, if anything, only highlights how enduring Rf has been. He has no business to be in so many finals at his age, even if he is an exceptionally gifted athlete. Enjoy what he is bringing to the court at this last stage of his career without the need to belittle his achievements. Just as so many others need to be enjoying the rise of Djokovic. To me, Only other player who is in contention of GOAT is Djokovic. If he achieves the Djoko slam or calendar slam, he is the Goat. Or if he finishes at 15/16, then Rf’s h2h against Nadal will matter and Djokovic just might beat Rf to Goat as his records can match Rf’s in balance and excellence. As for tonight, Nadal will be too much for Rf’s nerves. I will be shocked if Rf wins. But well done Rf to get to another final. And well done Nadal. It has been a long tough road back.

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  4. These are parts of the text I found on Tennis X:

    Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal In The Basel Final, Who’s The Pick?
    by Sean Randall | October 31st, 2015,
    While the year-end Chase for No. 1 and the Race for London both turned out to be duds, we do get a very nice late season treat (hopefully not trick) tomorrow in the Basel final as Roger Federer clashes with Rafael Nadal in the resumption of one of the great rivalries in all of sport.—————————————————————————————————————–

    Looking at this week, obviously Federer’s the pick here. He’s playing on his best surface, in his hometown where he’s now made 10 straight finals and he has to be the fresher, more confident of the two. And the indoor court should really help Roger especially with that troublesome Nadal forehand to the backhand routine. Roger was pushed by David Goffin and Phil Kohlschreiber, but he blew out Jack Sock (a player with a similar game to Rafa) so he should be fit and ready.————————————————————————————-

    Nadal was pushed to three by Lukas Rosol, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and today in his win over Gasquet should have gone three again but the Frenchman was unable to serve out the second when he had the chance. Therefore, I do wonder if Rafa might be feeling a little weary in the legs. He has played a lot of tennis – and some of it good tennis – this fall.——–

    That said, this would be a huge confidence win for Nadal who lost to Novak Djokovic in Beijing and JW Tsonga in Shanghai. It’s something he really needs as he restores his place at the top – a big four win!

    But Roger’s the choice here. Dimitrov should have beaten Nadal, Federer will now finish him off. It’s good to see Rafa playing decent again, but even at his best it would have been a big ask for Rafa to beat Roger indoors in Basel in Federer’s backyard.

    The only question I have is will we see Federer do the SABR against Rafa?
    The pick: Federer in two

    I do enjoy reading such texts about Federer prior to big matches. My favourite is “15 reasons why Roger beats Novak this afternoon” by Craig O’Shannessy, a lead analyst for Wimbledon 2015, Australian Open 2015, ATP World Tour, WTA Tennis and New York Times.

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  5. It’s been a while since I posted but I have been following the posts. The early Federer loss in Shanghai was disappointing as I was hoping to see Fedal meet in the semis there and hopefully Federer could maintain No. 2. Djokovic played really well though, especially his defeat in Beijing over Nadal was a masterclass.

    Who knows we could see Federer-Djokovic-Nadal in the same group in London, which would be interesting (or not! that would make it tough for Fedfans as he would likely be the guy on the outside).

    As for today, I have to say Federer’s form has not been great from what I saw in the last few matches. Missed forehands and backhands, more errors than usual. Still his net game has been good and he’s serving mostly well apart from a game or two where it disappears. For example against Goffin he was broken 2 times in a row in the 2nd set.

    As for Nadal, he is fortunate Dimitrov is a choker, up a break in both first 2 sets and found a way to lose. Gasquet was up a break in the 2nd yesterday but Nadal fought back.

    In Charlie’s analogy above, my take is that it’s still a man with a gun against a old guy who knows sophisticated jiujitsu or something :-) Nadal’s hands are not firm, his aim is not as confident as it usually is, but he still can keep Federer from coming close .

    I predict Nadal in 2 tight sets, with the first 1 a tiebreaker, 7 -6 6-3. I have seen it enough times, let’s be honest. Federer had trouble beating this guy in his mid to late 20s on grass, so forget it now. Even their indoor matches were close despite the fact Federer won them all except the 2013 meeting.

    I am being negative a bit here, but Federer has played 3 days in a row. If the final was Monday and he had a day of rest I think he could win. But he looks a bit tired out there to me.

    As Ruan said IF Federer was looking in very good form, then he would have a chance but that is not the case and he will play with a fear to lose on his home ground.

    [Reply]

    Bharata Reply:

    Well; looks like I was wrong with that prediction, nice call Charlie with the 3 tight set prediction. But in my defence, Nadal’s knees were taped up and clearly that was the reason Federer was lucky to win.

    Actually to be honest there was some clutch mental play from Federer there, especially the volley at deuce when he was serving for it. USually that’s where he gets passed but this time he guessed right.

    Nadal was classy in defeat. He would have beaten Federer on any oher surface today, except maybe grass .

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah we can’t read too much into this match, we need to see a neutral surface match, maybe HC at the AO or perhaps IW, where the surface favours them both equally. That would be far more interesting, but good for Federer to get this one.

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  6. Someone mentioned above that “When Federer plays badly Nadal usually does well and vice versa.”
    I would correct this to “When Nadull does well Federer plays badly. And when Nadull plays badly or is injured Federer looses again. Federer performance has depended for years on weather Rafa is out of tour due to fake/real injury or someone else does the job of beating him earlier in tournaments that Federer will eventually win.

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  7. I just finished watching the game and it was excellent. Both players gave their best. My conclusions are:
    1) Federer has no psychological problem with Nadal. Rather, he got tactical problem with backhand-forehand encounter. However, this surface has a lower bounce and Federer backhand has immensely improved.
    2) H2H is slightly distorted in Nadal’s favour. It would be closer if they played more matches in indoor fast courts.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah, I hope we see a few more matches on faster courts, and given that Federer has got one match back I would be interested to see a match in Paris, at the WTF or especially in Melbourne in January. I definitely think that would likely go Nadal’s way, but it would be interesting to see if Roger can at least take a set this time.

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  8. Well that sure is very pleasant surprise!! I won’t be able to see the match until this evening but love the outcome. Excited to hear Ruan’s take on what happened and how both guys played.

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