Abu Dhabi: Djokovic vs. Ferrer for title, Nadal vs. Tsonga for third

Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer will battle for the Abu Dhabi championship on Saturday. Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are going up against each other for third-place honors.

(2) Novak Djokovic vs. David Ferrer

Ferrer no longer has coach Javier Piles in his corner, but he already has two wins at the 2013 Mubadala World Tennis Championship under his belt. The third-ranked Spaniard beat Stanislas Wawrinka 7-5, 6-1 in his opening match before upsetting top seed Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 on Friday. Djokovic, who got a bye to the semifinals along with Nadal, scraped past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(5), 6-3.

The second-ranked Serb is 11-5 lifetime against Ferrer following a pair of straight-set victories in 2013. It’s impossible to gauge just how much either man wants this title, but Djokovic’s 24-match winning streak (all on hard courts) to end last season is something to consider. He barely knows what it’s like to lose right now and he will likely want to maintain his winning ways heading into the official start of 2014.

Pick: Djokovic in 2

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Tsonga is contesting his third match in three days, having defeated Andy Murray 7-5, 6-3 on Thursday prior to his setback against Djokovic. The Frenchman is 3-8 lifetime against Nadal and they have faced each other only twice since 2011.

Abu Dhabi is a borderline exhibition event, especially with nothing more than third place at stake in this particular match. Nadal–and to some extent Tsonga, as well–is simply fine-tuning his game for Australia. Under these circumstances and on a fast hard court, Tsonga should have a good shot at pulling off his second win of the week.

Pick: Tsonga in 3

8 Comments on Abu Dhabi: Djokovic vs. Ferrer for title, Nadal vs. Tsonga for third

  1. This could go either way. I hope Tsonga doesn’t serve as well as he did against Andy. If his serve is on, then Rafa will have to work hard otherwise Rafa could pull this one off providing he doesn’t make too many errors on the big points.

    It’s 50/50.

  2. The tennis channel is showing this on a one day tape delay. So I will get to see this tomorrow. I do want to check out Rafa and see how he looks, his form, his game. I am pleased that Rafa did get this win.

    I think Ferrer got lucky and just caught a Rafa who was a bit too rusty. It’s good to hear that Rafa played better against Tsonga.

    • Ferrer was sharp against Rafa, he made few errors and Rafa was definitely rusty. I don’t think there is much difference between the levels of Rafa and Nole right now. They both beat Tsonga with exactly the same score and Tsonga’s serve was on fire against Andy and Rafa (in the first set at least). Rafa could do better with his ROS, he had trouble with it against Ferrer and Tsonga. Ferrer’s level definitely dropped against Nole and he said in the presser that it’s not easy playing a final. I think the occasion got to him.

      I think it’s good that Rafa and Novak will not play each other before the AO to shut all the commentators up.

      I asked Rafa if he thinks 3 challenges are enough in a match because I could see that there were times when he wasn’t sure about the calls but didn’t challenge because he didn’t want to use up all his challenges. He said it’s OK as it is because too many challenges would disrupt the match and anyway they get 4 if there is a tie-break.

      • Thanks for all this nadline ! informative stuff…

        may I ask that how have you been asking rafa all these questions? I mean,where did you ask them these qs? did you have access to the press room?

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