Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic
|Date & Time||Sunday May 19, 2019, 10:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: Nadal -174 / Djokovic +154 -- Over/Under:
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic meet in the final of the 2019 tennis Italian Open.
Rafael Nadal is coming off a straight sets win over Stefanos Tsitsipas that took 19 games to decide. In the victory, Nadal won 71 percent of his first serve points and 79 percent of his second serve points. Nadal won 75 percent of his total service points and converted on two of his four break points. Nadal got 59 percent of his first serves in play and saved both of his break points. Nadal has won all eight sets this tournament and has been broken just once. Each of Nadal’s last nine wins have been decided in straight sets. Nadal looks to win his first title since last years Canadian Open and 81st title of his career. Nadal has won 11 of his last 13 final appearances overall and is 57-8 in final appearances on clay. Nadal is also 8-2 in final appearances at the Italian Open. Nadal has won seven of his last eight matches on clay court.
Novak Djokovic is coming off a three sets win over Diego Schwartzman that took 31 games to decide. In the victory, Djokovic won 70 percent of his first serve points and 61 percent of his second serve points. Djokovic won 67 percent of his total service points and converted on four of his five break points. Djokovic really turns up the defensive pressure in the key points and dominated his service game in the third set. Even later in the match, Djokovic is still able to find another gear and pull out ridiculous shots that break the spirit of his opponent. While he’s playing well, it’s fair to question how much Djokovic has left in the tank after back-to-back marathon three set matches. Djokovic has won eight of his 10 sets this tournament and 16 of his last 18 completed sets overall. Djokovic looks to win his third title of the year and his 75th title of his career. Djokovic has won six of his last eight final appearances overall and is 14-10 in final appearances on clay. Djokovic is also 4-4 in final appearances at the Italian Open. Djokovic has won each of his last nine matches on clay court.
These two have played 53 times and Djokovic won 28 of those meetings, including the most recent match in this years Australian Open. Djokovic has won 13 of the last 16 meetings against Nadal, but his last loss came in last years Italian Open. Nadal is 16-7 against Djokovic on clay court, but they’ve split the last 10 meetings. Nine of the last 11 meetings overall have been decided in straight sets.
You can make a case for Djokovic with the way he’s played these last few weeks and the fact he’s pretty much owned Nadal in recent meetings. Recent history is the only reason to consider Djokovic in this match. The problem is Djokovic has had a brutal schedule this week and has to be battling fatigue. Nadal has had a much easier workload to get to this point, not dropping a single set and finishing his match yesterday early. Djokovic played over three hours against Del Potro and his match against Schwartzman ended late and wasn’t any easier physically. Fresher legs matter in a match like this where both guys know each other so well and points will be hard fought. This is also Nadal on clay we’re talking about, the King of Clay and somebody who has won 87.6 percent of his final appearances on this surface.
When Nadal is fresh and playing well, I don’t bet against him on this surface. I also question how Djokovic will be standing for this match.