Australian Open 2012: Nadal vs Federer semifinal preview
January 25, 2012 · Print This Article
Courtesy of GEMTennis
This match between these 2 great champions is more intriguing to me than usual for the sheer fact that both players have made some tweaks to their game since their last meeting in London. Rafa’s adjustment has been to play from a little less further back on the baseline and to get a little more drive on the ball to take a little time away from his opponents and keep his opponents, especially the bigger and more aggressive ones, from stepping in and hurting him on a regular basis. Rafa employed that tactic against Berdych especially in the last 3 sets and came through victorious.
Federer’s adjustment I believe will be a huge key to the match and I believe was made specifically to combat the likes of players like Nadal who are capable of exploiting his backhand. The adjustment is the ability to go down the line with accuracy and power on the backhand side. In the past when Fed was getting a bit of pressure on the backhand he would predictably either slice or drive a backhand crosscourt in a safe place. What I noticed this fortnight is Fed had the ability to change the direction and rip backhands down the line and stun his opponent. This is Nadal’s kryptonite as Djokovic has made a living off of beating Nadal with that very shot in 2011.
It won’t be easy for Fed to execute his backhand down the lines because of the way Nadal can spin and angle the ball to the add court but I believe he will get his share of cuts and stun Nadal enough to keep Nadal from paralyzing him and not allowing him to create his magic. The court will play rather neutral in speed and because the match will be in the evening, it will be cooler and the court will play more neutral in bounce. This should also help Fed deal with Rafa’s lethal heavy forehand.
Federer will be fresh, confident and hungry to get to a grand slam final and I believe he will have enough answers to thwart his biggest rival in 4 sets. Fed wins 7-5, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.