So the French Open final is set; two Spaniards, David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal. Both are friends and both are going after the same title. One of the has already one the Roland Garros title 7 times, while the other has reached his first major final in his career.
David Ferrer has been one of the most hard working pros on the ATP tour, always grinding, and always keeping his head in the game. He just hasn’t found the right mix of point structure to win often against the top 3, especially Nadal.
Ferrer’s history against Nadal
Ferrer, unfortunately, doesn’t have much of a winning record against his countryman. The head to head is heavily in the favor of Rafa, leading 19 to 4. Three of the four wins that Ferru has on Nadal came on hard court tournaments and a single solitary clay court win, nine years ago in Stuttgart (the first time the faced off). Even then it was a close match.
Recently though, Ferrer has had some success in keeping close matches with his friend, taking a set at this years’ ATP Masters Series 1000 in Madrid. But, Rafalito made sure to close the door on the match slipping away, finishing off the “other” Spaniard 6-2.
What chance does Ferrer have of winning?
I would like to be optimistic about Ferrer’s chances of beating Nadal in Paris, though, I honestly think the pressure that he will face (and probably lack of sleep) will make his chances of coming close close to nil.
Realistically, I would say that Daveeed has about a 20% chance of taking the title from Rafa, and even that is being a bit generous. The chances increase monumentally if Nadal comes to the match on crutches, but that’s still hard to call.
In order to really make his chances of staying close go up, he’s going to have to grind like he’s never grinded before! He knows that Nadal is going to move him around and knows that hitting to the Rafa forehand will usually result in a winner, especially down the line. I think Ferrer’s best best is going to target deep to Rafa’s backhand; not so much angles, but right to his backhand and force errors. Like many other players fail to do, Ferrer needs to work in as many drop shots as he can; Rafa is known for camping out about 5 miles from the baseline on clay. So adding a dropshot could easily win him some quick points.
Ferrer’s bottom line
At the end of the day, I don’t anticipate that Daveed Ferrer is going to have what it takes to do enough damage to the French Open defending champion this time around. He lacks the firepower and point construction to outhit and outsmart Nadal.
Will it be an entertaining match? Probably not. I have a strong feeling that it will be like many of their previous meetings on clay, a complete blowout. Straight sets and probably in less than an hour.
I guess this leaves me to congratulate Nadal on his record 8 French Open titles*. Congrats Amigo!
*I’ve been wrong before and there is a small chance I could be wrong again. 😉