World Tour Finals 2015: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal Semifinal Prediction

Will their head-to-head be even soon?

Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal

This match is about as big as it gets.  Novak Djokovic took the world of tennis over in 2011 only to see Nadal claw his way back into contention in 2012.  In 2013, Rafa seemingly broke Djokovic’s will at the US Open.  Nole added Boris Becker and has won 4 of the previous 6 Grand Slam titles, dominated Masters Series events, and the tour in general.  Rafa is starting to play more like his 2013 form, but has yet to really land a huge win in his comeback trail.  Novak can maintain his recent mental edge on Rafa heading into 2016.  Rafa can send the message that the Djokovic monarchy may have a serious roadblock.  In short, this is a huge match.

For Rafa to win, he will have to serve well, make sure he does not surrender too much real estate by playing closer to the baseline than he has for most of 2015, and will need to make judicious forrays inside the court to either crush ground strokes or knock off volleys.

For Djokovic to win, he will need to return well, control court positioning by making Rafa run while he dictates play, and will need to show mental fortitude when Rafa gains any momentum.

Prior to Rafa’s match versus Ferrer, I was leaning toward Rafa to pull an upset and make a bid to win his lone World Tour Finals when it seemed most unlikely even 4 weeks ago.  Rafa will have to play much better than he did against Ferrer to challenge Djokovic.  Rafa also does not get a day to rest and mentally prepare for this clash.  I think Djokovic’s return of serve will give him too many looks at breaking Nadal for Rafa to be favored.

My Prediction: Novak Djokovic d. Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4


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