Sunday, November 01, 2015

Federer-Nadal XXXIV: Raja and Rafa In Basel Final

For the thirty-fourth time in their careers, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet on the ATP Tour. Nadal, 29, has won 70% (23) of those meetings while Federer, 34, has won only 10. In fact, Nadal has won the last five times they played, including all four matches they played in 2013 (which was the first year that the Swiss great failed to reach a major final and the year Nadal won almost every hard court tournament he entered after returning to the tour after losing early at Wimbledon). Significantly, the two have not played since Federer's game recovered in mid-2014 and he ascended to the World #2 ranking. This year, Nadal is on the comeback trail, since he failed to reach a major final for the first time in his career and his ranking almost fell out of the Top 10.

While the Federer-Nadal rivalry is compelling because they have met in 8 major finals (Rafa leads 6-2) and the two are the current all-time leaders of major singles titles won (Federer 18, Nadal 14). However, the Nadal-Djokovic rivalry is longer (45 matches, with Nadal holding a slim 23-22 edge) and the Federer-Djokovic rivalry is more exciting (42 matches, currently tied at 21-all with Djokovic winning three major finals in the last 18 months against Federer). It's conceivable that the 28-year-old Djokovic could end his career with head-to-head leads over both Federer and Djokovic, although it;s hard to believe he will end with more major titles since he currently has 10.

This is Federer-Nadal's 5th hard court final (currently even at 2-all). Federer is playing in his record 12th final in his hometown tournament, and if he wins on Sunday he will have won the tournament 7 times.

MadProfessah's pick: Federer.

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