Dzumhur vs. Nadal
|Date & Time||Thursday January 18, 2018, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Rafael Nadal and Damir Dzumhur meet in the third round of the 2018 Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal is coming off a straight sets win over Leonardo Mayer that took 32 games to decide. In the victory, Nadal won 80 percent of his first serve points and 60 percent of his second serve points. Nadal won 55 of 69 first serve points and was broken just once. Nadal has yet to drop a set this tournament and his injury concerns seem to be a thing of the past, as he’s moving well. While struggling with his return at times, especially in the third set, Nadal proves he’s still more than capable of winning all of the big points and never allowing his opponent to get comfortable. Nadal hopes to make the fourth round of a grand slam for the sixth straight appearance. Nadal has won eight of his last 11 matches on hard court.
Damir Dzumhur is coming off a four sets win over John Millman that took 38 games to decide. In the victory, Dzumhur won 69 percent of his first serve points and 54 percent of his second serve points. Dzumhur was really solid with his return in his second round victory, giving himself 15 break chances and hitting 47 winners. The concern with Dzumhur heading into this match is the workload, as he’s played nine sets in his first two singles matches, and that doesn’t include his doubles play as well. Conditioning is key in grand slam play, and you have to wonder how much Dzumhur has left in the tank this early in the season. Dzumhur has four career wins over top-10 players, two of which came last season. Dzumhur has a chance to make the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time in his career. Dzumhur has split his last six matches on hard court.
These two have played once, which was in the 2016 Miami Masters, a match Dzumhur won in three sets before Nadal retired. The match lasted 21 games.
One thing you need to have to give Nadal a run for his money is plenty of gas in the tank. He makes you hit a ton of balls, has you running for every point and is more than willing to play marathon matches. After nine sets already and doubles play, Dzumhur is likely going to have dead legs and wear down over time in the Australian sun. Not to mention the experience edge and the fact Dzumhur has never made the fourth round of a grand slam.
Give me Nadal in straight sets.